Ontario to table legislation to upload new Toronto subway expansions [UPDATED]
Transportation Minister says the province is in better position to get future projects completed faster
TORONTO—Ontario will introduce subway upload legislation Thursday that would give the province ownership of future expansion projects in Toronto’s system.
Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said Wednesday that the upcoming bill would mean transit can get built faster and the government can focus on a regional network.
“That means fare integration and improved connectivity between transit systems,” he said in a speech. “We would be able to prioritize transportation projects and make decisions based on what is best for the people of Ontario, not just Toronto.”
The province has a greater capacity to finance projects, issue zoning orders, and compel utilities to prioritize relocation work, Yurek said.
Toronto and the provincial government are currently in discussions about Premier Doug Ford’s plan to take over responsibility for the city’s subway system. Ford has said the Toronto Transit Commission would retain the day-to-day operations of the subway, buses, and street cars, and the city would keep fare box revenue.
The legislation and other new regulations Yurek announced Wednesday will tackle a host of transportation-related issues.
Fines will be increased for drivers travelling slowly in the left-hand lane, Yurek said.
“When people drive dangerously slow, the safety of others is put at risk,” he said to applause from the Toronto Region Board of Trade audience.
As well, stronger fines will be introduced for careless driving around maintenance and construction workers, tow-truck operators and recovery workers, he said.
Current laws prohibit the use of off-road vehicles on municipal roads unless the community passes a bylaw to allow for it. The new bill will presumptively allow the vehicles on municipal roads, unless the municipality specifically bans them.
The government is also proposing to allow solo motorcycle riders to use Ontario’s high occupancy vehicle lanes.
Yurek said the province plans to eliminate a requirement for owners of pick-up trucks and trailers to get them inspected if they are for personal use. It will also allow vehicle dealers to apply online for permits, plates and validation stickers on behalf of customers, instead of them having to line up at Service Ontario.