TORONTO — The provincial government is calling on the federal government to “put Ontario’s priorities first” and ensure 54 key projects, including transit and transportation projects, are expedited for approvals.
In a May 10 release, federal infrastructure minister Francois-Philippe Champagne made a “commitment to the people of Ontario that I will continue to put your priorities first and will ensure the projects that matter most to your communities…are expedited for approvals,” states a release issued by Ontario’s Ministry of Infrastructure.
The government’s call for action came May 15, the same day Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton formally requested funding for the Yonge North Subway Extension in Toronto. The extension is an estimated $5.6 billion project which would stretch the Yonge subway line from Finch Station to Richmond Hill Centre. The request includes four other transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area: the Ontario Line, the Bloor-Yonge Capacity Improvement Project, the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension and the SmartTrack Stations Program, which were also sent for approval earlier this month.
“For months, we’ve heard the federal government ask us to be quicker sending them projects for approval,” said McNaughton. “Today we have nominated our 54th project to the federal government. The ball is now in their court. We are looking to them to say yes so we can get shovels in the ground and get people moving.”
“People have waited long enough for an integrated regional transit system that extends outside of Toronto’s city limits,” said Jeff Yurek, minister of transportation, in a statement. “We’re building a 21st century transit network that better serves transit riders’ needs and extends into the growing communities and new employment centres across the region.”
Earlier this month the province introduced legislation to give it authority over transit expansion.
“Transit in the GTHA is a generation behind where it should be due to years of inaction by government,” said McNaughton in a statement. “We are taking action because the province has the power to get these projects done. We have a world-class procurement agency to lead development. We have the power to cut red tape that has bogged down the city in the past. And most importantly we are putting up the money to fund these projects. It’s time the federal government joined us.”