Following the Ontario government's announcement of over $150 million in funding for planning work on Toronto's Relief Line, the Province has just announced that another $55 million will go towards planning the eventual Line 1 Yonge Subway extension to Richmond Hill. 

The money is being directed to Metrolinx, with the Provincial transit agency set to co-operate with the TTC, York Region Transit, and the Regional Municipality of York, in planning the line. The proposed line would run from the current terminus at Finch Station north to Highway 7 in Richmond Hill, providing direct rapid transit access to communities north of Toronto. 

A Viva Next graphic showing a concept plan for the eventual subway, image courteA Viva Next graphic showing a concept plan for the eventual subway, image courtesy of Viva Next

However, with overcrowding on the Yonge Line currently an almost crippling problem for the TTC, the project likely remains more of a long-term priority. As the Relief Line is already desperately needed to alleviate congestion on Line 1, the viability of the Yonge Subway's northern extension is contingent on a less crowded subway. 

Although the project remains in its early stages, today's announcement facilitates a step forward in the planning process. The new funding follows an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Yonge North Subway Extension that was approved in 2009, and an addendum—to include underground train storage—approved in 2014. In 2015, Metrolinx published the Yonge Relief Network Study, providing recommendations for further planning and preliminary engineering of the line.

A view of the extended subway (in grey) within the context of future Toronto traA view of the extended subway (in grey) within the context of future Toronto transit, image via City of Toronto / TTC

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and the project continues to take shape. The planning process will move the proposed subway towards "shovel ready" status, though co-operation and funding from the other levels of government will be necessary before the project becomes a reality. The construction and engineering of the line is expected to take approximately 10 years, with a projected capital cost of roughly $4 billion (in 2015 dollars).

More information is available via the Province, as well as the York Region's Viva Next website. Want to share your thoughts on the announcement? Feel free to leave a comment in the space below this page, or join in the ongoing discussion on our associated Forum thread