TORONTO — Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney has introduced legislation designed to expedite construction of four priority GTA (greater Toronto area) subway projects.
The Building Transit Faster Act would provide the province with tools to reduce potential hurdles to accelerated construction of the projects, including powers to relocate utilities and assemble properties required for projects more quickly and obtain faster access to municipal services and rights-of-way.
The projects, announced as priorities last April, are the new Ontario Line, the Yonge North Subway Extension, the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension.
The proposed legislation was unveiled Feb. 18. Mulroney had previewed the proposed measures during a recent address to the Economic Club of Canada.
“In order to keep up with the tremendous growth in the region, we have to build modern, efficient rapid transit,” said Mulroney in a release.
“It will not only generate years of employment, it will allow us to better connect a world-class city and develop transit-oriented communities.”
The release stated that the tools would “expedite the planning, design and construction process that has delayed major projects in the past.
If passed, the legislation would remove roadblocks and give the province the ability needed to deliver projects faster.”
The proposed legislation also gives the province powers to inspect and remove physical barriers with appropriate notification to property owners and ensure nearby developments or construction projects are coordinated so they do not delay the four priority projects.
“Not only will this proposed legislation get people riding the trains earlier, it will ensure that the province is best positioned to attract new business and keep our best and brightest here in Ontario,” said Kinga Surma, associate minister of transportation (GTA), in the release.
The proposed legislation “introduces a structured and consistent process for engaging and coordinating work,” the release stated.