Feds announce $12B in funding for 4 major transit projects in Toronto, 1 in Hamilton

The federal government announced Tuesday that they will be helping Ontario fund four major subway projects in the GTA and a rapid transit project in Hamilton.


The federal government announced Tuesday that they will be helping Ontario fund four major subway projects in the GTA and a rapid transit project in Hamilton.

The $12-billion funding plan is being billed as “once-in-a-generation” and the largest single announcement of transit funding in Canadian history.

The four projects receiving the cash infusion in Toronto are:

  • Ontario Line: from Exhibition Place through downtown to the Ontario Science Centre
  • Eglinton Crosstown West extension: connecting Scarborough and Mississauga directly along Eglinton Avenue
  • Yonge Street North subway: extending Line 1 to Vaughan, Markham and Richmond Hill
  • Scarborough subway: extending Line 2 at Bloor-Danforth at Kennedy Station to Sheppard Avenue East – a 7.8 kilometre extension, adding three more stops along Line 2.

In Hamilton, the funding will go toward a rapid transit line that will go from McMaster University in the west, through downtown to Eastgate Centennial Park in Stoney Creek.

“The GTA represents 20 per cent of Canada’s population and growing, and it has the third highest transit system ridership in North America,” said Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “When complete, over six-million people across the GTA will have better access to Toronto services with public transit routes covering 1,200 kilometres. These investments are a key part of our plan to kickstart our economy and create one million jobs.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said the projects will help “support jobs, make people’s commutes better and cut down on pollution.”

“Public transit is at the heart of a strong recovery and growing middle class. It’s also part of our plan to reach net-zero by 2050,” he said. “This $12-billion in funding means people will get where they need to go faster, all with tens of thousands fewer cars on the road daily. The bottom line is this — rapid transit shortens commutes which gives parents more time with their kids and ensures kids will inherit a cleaner future.”

Part of the funding will also go toward buying zero-emissions streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Trudeau said the new streetcars will keep Toronto’s air cleaner and help protect “good middle class jobs” at the Alstom automotive plant in Thunder Bay.

“Canada is a world leader in the public transit manufacturing sector … we will continue to encourage this industry in our country,” said Trudeau.

The funding agreement includes key conditions that are expected to improve the outcomes from the projects including community and environmental benefits, affordable housing and more citizen engagement.

McKenna said that every dollar invested in infrastructure must have multiple benefits. As such, federal funding will depend on satisfying those conditions, including:

  • Demonstrating how the investments will drive down emissions and build climate resilience
  • Substantive environmental reviews
  • Community benefit agreements
  • Incorporating barrier free and accessibility features
  • Ensuring affordable housing along the new lines
  • Meeting employment thresholds for underrepresented communities including Black, Indigenous, people of colour and women.

Provincial and municipal officials lauded the announcement and hailed it as a historic partnership between all levels of government.

Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney, said when she took over the transportation portfolio, she received a clear mandate from Premier Doug Ford to move these transit projects forward.

“Reaching this milestone with our federal partners brings us one step closer to delivering on our promise to build a modern, reliable and sustainable transit system that the City of Toronto and York Region so desperately need,” she said. “Today’s announcement is an endorsement by the federal government of our government’s and premier Ford’s vision for transit in the GTA.”

Along with connecting underserved communities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Mulroney said the projects will support over 16,000 jobs each year during construction, with continued employment for the operation and maintenance of the new lines.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said the announcement “proves that when people work together we can get things done” and thanked Trudeau and Ford for being good partners to the City of Toronto.

“It was a bit of a difficult path to get to where we are, but the bottom line is we got there,” he said. “As mayor of Canada’s largest city and the country’s economic engine, I am proud to secure the support from these governments, both federal and provincial, for our transit system because transit expansion is vitally important to the future of our city.”

He added that Toronto is a partner with the federal and provincial governments in this plan and will continue to invest the City Building Fund in transit infrastructure upgrades and repairs.

Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti has been a longtime supporter of the Yonge North extension and called the investment an “outstanding commitment” that will contribute to creating a sustainable future for generations to come.

“With the addition of the Yonge North subway extension we will reduce greenhouse gases annually by 4,800 tons … and it will also eliminate the over 3,300 bus trips that are taken daily on an already jam-packed Yonge Street corridor,” he said.

Scarpitti added that Minister McKenna has been instrumental in pushing through the funding agreement and thanked both Trudeau and Ford for their commitment to York Region’s transit needs.

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