Finance Minister Jim Flaherty confirmed the federal government’s support of the Scarborough subway expansion today at a press conference. The promise is supported by the $660 million that will be provided for the city to fund the project.
“The government is pleased to announce that they’ll continue to support subway expansion. We are committing to the mayor’s request,” said Flaherty to boisterous applause.
Flaherty went on to explain that since 2006, the government has provided “record infrastructure funding” of $4.5-billion. According to Flaherty some of that money went to the expansion of GO transit ($250 million); the revitalization of Union Station ($133 million); and the York/Spadina subway ($622 million).
He also assured the $330 million promised for the Sheppard LRT would not be affected by the decision.
Flaherty thanked Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and other members of council for their effort and advocacy for the subway project, and for focusing on the importance of transit.
Ford estimated the project will take five years to complete, with “shovels in the ground” within the next two. He repeatedly thanked the federal government on behalf of the city and behalf of the residents of Scarborough.
“They’re investing in Toronto, to get the city moving again. Together we’re building transit that will last well over 100 years,” said Ford. “Toronto is a world class city, and world class cities build subways, friends.”
Flaherty guaranteed the $660 million is set aside, and will be available to the city as needed throughout the duration of construction. In terms of financing security, Flaherty said that the money is real and has been budgeted.
“We keep our commitments, we will be there and we will pay the money,” said Flaherty, “Cash, as I say, is there and it will flow.”
Glen Murray, Ontario transport minister, was looking to fund the subway extension with the money that would’ve been designated to the Scarborough Light Rail Transit (LRT). The amount proposed was $1.4 billion, however this is $400 million short of the original budget, which, according to Karen Stintz TTC chair, wouldn’t be enough to build a subway. This new funding would fill in that monetary gap.
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