There have been requests made for a light rail line to go across the Waterfront in Toronto. The track is expected to cost millions of dollars and will add to the already high amount of expenditure spent in the area.
As there are elections coming up and transit is a bit issue in the area, it is hoped that this will bring back to life the plans that had been neglected when the Mayor was able to have his priorities accepted instead.
Reports claim that over the years there have been a number of schemes that have not come to fruition due to internal arguing and regular changes of priority. It is believed that this programme will make travelling the Lakeshore and Gardiner expressway much easier – but the funding has to be found.
CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission Andy Byford has said “Doubtless, there would still be more discussion at city council,” He went on to explain “The debate tends to start with, well, where’s the money going to come from……we have some agreement in principle, for the money.”
City Manager Joe Pennachetti has been involved with the negotiations and has added, “I’d argue strongly that over the next 15 years, the province has to assist Toronto and the GTHA with the Waterfront LR. I’d argue we need it from Waterfront East – meaning East Bayfront – all the way to Ontario Place and the Ex as soon as possible. And it’s not huge dollars.”
When asked about the amount he considered that it would be between $600 million and $1 billion.
For a while it has seemed that the Waterfront is not the big issue that it once was, but that is not the case. While there is a long way to go Mr Byford has said that with regard to City Hall there was still“broad agreement” on the need for it.
Both men have presented the priorities and this includes the funding for the scheme as well as other changes they believe will make this project financially viable. Few people were however expecting the insistence that the LRT should be across the whole waterfront and be part of the next round of transport projects that are going to be funded by the province. “You only have to look at what’s going on down on the [waterfront]………..there is a pressing need for a transit solution,” said Mr Byford.
He ended by saying “Obviously funding is one of those criteria for determining which of those iterations actually sees the light of day.”