TORONTO — The Ontario legislature has passed Bill 171, the Building Transit Faster Act, containing measures allowing transit builders to relocate utilities more quickly and access municipal rights of way faster in preparation for projects.
The legislation, approved July 7, is intended to expedite the construction of four major Toronto-area transit projects: the Ontario Line, the Yonge North Subway Extension to Markham and Richmond Hill, the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension, and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension to Pearson airport.
The projects are part of Premier Doug Ford’s plan that is billed as his “New Subway Transit Plan for the GTA.”
Bill 171 will also allow the province to conduct due diligence work and remove physical barriers with appropriate notification to property owners, stated a release, and ensure nearby developments or construction projects are co-ordinated so they do not cause delays.
“Getting more transit built faster will help reduce gridlock, deliver a modern rapid transit system for the province and become a major contributor to our economic recovery,” said Ford in the statement. “These four priority transit projects will create thousands of jobs, provide more housing options for people, and open up countless opportunities for businesses throughout the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.”
“During consultations and throughout debate, we heard a common theme from a wide range of people who reinforced how important it is to not only build transit quickly, but to also get it right,” added Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney. “That is why we’ve focused solely on eliminating the roadblocks that cause unnecessary delays, so we can deliver these major transit projects as quickly and cost effectively as possible.”
The government has signed preliminary agreements with the City of Toronto and the Region of York that include provisions for the accelerated delivery of the four priority transit projects, while Metrolinx has published business cases for the projects. The projects will be delivered through public-private partnership procurement.