Last week the Federal and Provincial governments pledged nearly $9 billion, $4.89 billion Federal and $4.04 billion Provincial, towards five (or six, depending on how you break it down) Toronto rapid transit projects. The Relief Line, SmartTrack (which includes both GO Transit improvements and the Eglinton West LRT), the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Eglinton East LRT, and the Waterfront LRT will all be funded over the next 10 years.
As is the case with many of these announcements, some of the funding announced now is in fact being re-announced, having already been pledged in various different transit packages. In particular, $1.24 billion of the $4.89 billion Federal commitment had already been announced for SmartTrack as part of a commitment made in 2016. The $660 million that had also already been committed to the Scarborough Subway Extension under the previous Federal administration is included in that $4.89 billion amount. So in reality, this announcement represents $2.99 billion of new funding.
Unlike the Federal commitment however, the $4.04 billion of Provincial funding is all new money, despite the $1.99 billion the Province has already committed to the Scarborough Subway Extension and the $0.45 billion that has been committed for SmartTrack as part of a funding agreement reached with the City in 2016.
Though it's unclear exactly how this new funding will be divided up between the projects, the table below summarizes what we do know in terms of total estimated project costs and funding commitments from the various levels of government.
As one can see, there is still at least $3.14 billion in municipal funding required in order to fully fund the projects on this list. While the Relief Line has been identified as one of Council's top priorities, should it be funded entirely with Federal and Provincial funding, there would be just $230 million left over for the other projects.
To complicate matters even more, to date funding for the Eglinton East LRT project has been closely tied with the Scarborough Subway Extension. Given that the costs of that project have steadily risen and could continue to do so, it's possible that the cost increases for that project will be covered with funding that would have otherwise been destined for the Eglinton East LRT, as many Councillors have continually ignored any semblance of the fiscal conservatism they claim to champion when it comes to the Scarborough Subway Extension.
Yesterday's Provincial Speech from the Throne provided no new clues with respect to transit either. While it is clear that this government intends to continue making transit funding a priority, no details with regards to which projects will receive the recently-announced funds have been released.
With both Provincial and Municipal elections taking place this year, however, it's possible that we could receive some more details with respect to which projects will actually receive much of this funding. The Provincial government has a habit of announcing (and then often re-announcing) project-specific funding details at on-site press events, a pattern which may continue through this election campaign. There is also the potential of Toronto Council providing more information on how they intend to close the $3.14 billion municipal funding gap.
In the meantime, you can follow these projects by visiting their respective forum threads:
- Relief Line
- Scarborough Subway Extension
- Eglinton East LRT
- Waterfront Transit Reset Phase 1 Study
If you'd like to share your thoughts, you can do so in those threads or in the comments section below.