Metrolinx and the City of Toronto have finally signed off on the $8.4 billion LRT deal for the city that will see four new rapid transit lines constructed in an effort to ease congestion and improve mobility in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. This officially puts the money to work on the plan approved by Toronto City Council, with Metrolinx owning the LRT lines and the TTC as the operator.
The Eglinton Crosstown LRT is already under construction with completion scheduled for 2020. The Scarborough LRT replacement and extension north to Sheppard Avenue will begin in 2014 with a 2020 completion date. The Finch West LRT and Sheppard East LRT are to begin in 2015 and 2017, respectively, with work finishing in 2020 and 2021.
Another agreement between the Province and the TTC will see PRESTO fare card technology rolled out at all subway stations, streetcars and buses by 2016. The implementation of PRESTO will allow passengers to move freely between eight municipal transit systems and GO Transit.
Representatives from the Province, Metrolinx, the City and the TTC were on hand for the announcement. TTC Chair Karen Stintz said this about the deal; "We are not just building transit with the LRTs I fought for, we're building our city". Andy Byford, CEO of the TTC said "We see the introduction of a smartcard and the construction of the four LRT lines as key elements of our program to modernize the TTC and to transform the travelling experience for our customers."