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Toronto, feds advance plans for new multibillion-dollar downtown subway line

The Downtown Relief Line would ease congestion on Toronto's crowded Yonge Street subway, but still needs provincial funds to move forward


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The proposed subway line would likely connect Queen Station to Pape Station on The Danforth. PHOTO: Marcin Wichary, via Flickr

TORONTO—Commuters on one of North America’s busiest transit arteries may soon be getting some relief.

Late last week, the federal government said it will contribute $27 million to support planning and preliminary design efforts for Toronto’s Downtown Relief Line.

The city will match the funds, adding approximately $54 million to a $150 million investment in the proposed subway line the Ontario government made last year.

The Relief Line has been in the works for years and aims to relieve pressure on Toronto’s Yonge-University subway line—particularly at the crowded Bloor-Yonge Station. The most recent planned route for the subway involves a new line extending from Pape Station in Toronto’s east end to Queen and Osgoode stations in the city’s core.

CLICK to enlarge. A map of the planned route. PHOTO: John Tory/Flickr

An earlier study estimated the Relief Line would cost between $3.2 billion and $8.3 billion, depending on the scope of the project.

“I’m glad to see the federal government coming to the table with much-needed transit funding,” Toronto Mayor, John Tory, said in a statement. “This planning funding—coupled with the City’s investment—helps us get to work on planning the relief line.”

Tory made the new announcement alongside federal and provincial government representatives, but also stressed the need for the province to sanction construction of the project.

“While the Province of Ontario has invested $150 million to help plan the Relief Line, and we thank them for that, we need them to commit to partnership on the construction of this transit project and the continued expansion of our network across Toronto,” he said.

Toronto’s mayor and the province have recently clashed over infrastructure funding and new ways for the city to generate revenue. In January, Premier Kathleen Wynne quashed a City Council-approved plan to tax commuters on two Toronto highways.

Current TTC ridership forecasts show the Downtown Relief Line will be required by 2031.


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