Toronto approves cost-sharing for subway to York

Plans for a subway to York University and Vaughan passed another milestone yesterday. Toronto city council unanimously approved an arrangement with York Region for splitting their one-third share of funding for the Spadina subway extension, putting the spotlight on the federal government to confirm that it will pay the final third of the $2-billion bill. The government of Ontario has already committed its one-third.

Right: Plan shows the location of a subway station near The Common on York’s Keele campus 

“We congratulate the City of Toronto and York Region for reaching this agreement, ” said Bud Purves, president of the York University Decvelopment Corporation. “It is unprecedented in respect of its impact on the future of the GTA and the demarcation of a new era of cooperation between two of Canada’s largest municipalities. We specifically applaud Mayor Miller and all members of Toronto city council for their unwavering support for this transportation infrastructure project. We now anticipate that the federal government will soon pledge its support.”

Toronto council approved a report from the city’s policy and finance committee Wednesday, just three days before a Sept. 30 deadline set by the province, that confirmed a tentative deal the two municipalities reached Sept. 15. The agreement will see Toronto pay 59.96 per cent (about $397 million) of the cost while York Region pays 40.04 per cent (about $265 million).

The provincial government set aside its $670-million share of the funding when it announced the Move Ontario program in its March 23 budget (see story in the March 24 issue of YFile). The federal Conservatives have balked at confirming Ottawa’s share of the subway extension, saying they needed to look at a number of transportation priorities. York Region has asked the federal government to make its pledge within six months. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has said a decision would probably be made by the end of this year.

Toronto’s share of the project reflects the fact that 6.1 kilometres of the 8.6-km link will run from Downsview Station through York’s Keele campus to the city’s border with Vaughan at Steeles Avenue West. The line will continue north to the Vaughan Corporate Centre, near Jane Street and Hwy. 7.

Council’s approval of the deal included a decision to spend up to $200,000 more on prepatory work for the project. York Region will also pay the city $29.98 million as its contribution to work already done on the project.