The province’s recently unveiled Scarborough subway extension may need to be, well, extended.
Queen’s Park has committed $1.4 billion to the plan, enough to extend the Bloor-Danforth line from Kennedy station to Scarborough City Centre.
Extending farther is a possibility but more money is needed and would take time to raise, something Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Bob Nichols says the province doesn’t want to wait for.
We are moving ahead with our commitment to extend the subway line to Scarborough City Centre with provincial funding.
“The City (of Toronto) is attempting to assemble federal and city funding, which could be applied to further extending the Bloor-Danforth subway line to Sheppard Avenue,” Nichols said in an email. “As this funding is not likely to be confirmed for some time, we are moving ahead with our commitment to extend the subway line to Scarborough City Centre with provincial funding.”
The province’s plan includes fewer stops than the city had proposed, but, Nichols said, the Ministry of Transportation wants to start digging.
“The $1.4 billion will fully fund the extension to Scarborough City Centre, getting shovels in the ground sooner and bringing much needed subway infrastructure to Scarborough residents,” he said. “As it is in the early stages of the project, financing details are still yet to be worked out.”
The province’s announcement addresses a major and looming transit concern, Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter said.
“We understand that the SRT line is well past its life and it needs to be replaced,” she said. “This is a step forward and good news for the residents of Scarborough.”
As for the residents of Dorset Park who sit in the path of the proposed extension, the province is taking steps to address concerns that construction will have a negative impact on the area, Nichols said.
“As with all major transportation infrastructure projects, the Scarborough subway extension will be subject to an environmental assessment.” he said. “The assessment will consider all potential impacts of the project, including construction, and look at potential mitigation of those impacts.”
Greater co-operation between levels of government would help push the extension farther, Hunter said.
“Other levels of government should be involved,” she said. “We’ve put forward $1.4 billion in funding and if further extension is required the federal government and city should step up with more investments to match growth. Any investment in transit will save people time.”
Scarborough residents have been waiting for subways and getting the ball rolling is a good first step, Hunter said.
“This extension has been a Day 1 priority,” she said. “We need to get Scarborough moving.”