Read the daily “on schedule” posts to find news and other information that affects your daily commute. You’ll learn about public meetings, special events and construction projects that affect transit services today.
- Bradford Times article, “Davis Drive construction to finish by end of year”, here.
- Brampton Guardian article, “Ontario’s transit friendly budget gets glowing review locally”, here.
- Business News Network report, “Roads, trains, natural gas: Ontario’s infrastructure binge”, here.
- Canadian Manufacturing article, “Ontario names SNC-Lavalin-led group as preferred bidder in $4B LRT contract”, here.
- Canadian Press article (from the 680 All News Radio website, “Ten infrastructure and transit projects to receive funding in the Ontario budget”, here.
- Canadian Press article (from the CTV News website), “SNC-led group wins [Metrolinx Eglinton Crosstown] contract” , here
- CanIndia article, “Province will pitch in for LRT, after all”, here.
- CBC News report, “Gregor Robertson, John Tory want ‘flexible’ private sector role in transit fund”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Ontario budget 2015: John Tory says province’s plan good for SmartTrack”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Fatal collision in Markham involving Viva bus”, here.
- CP24 report, “Tory says Ontario budget proves province is willing to help build SmartTrack”, here.
- CTV News Toronto report, “Province unveils $130B infrastructure push in Ontario budget”, here.
- CTV News Toronto report, “One dead after VIVA bus crash in Thornhill”, here.
- Daily Commercial News article, “Ontario ‘must build’ for its future prosperity, says Sousa”, here.
- Durham Region.com post, “GO transit improvements coming to Durham”, here.
- Global News Toronto report, “Ontario Budget 2015: Five things you need to know”, here.
- Global News Toronto report, “John Tory supports the Ontario provincial budget”, here.
- Global News Toronto report, “Scarborough subway still being hotly debated”, here.
- Global News Toronto report, “One dead in crash between transit bus and truck in Thornhill”, here.
- Global Rail News post, “Ontario reveals massive 10-year rail investment”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Ontario budget touts transit spending, takes a hard line on health, education”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Ontario budget: A boost for businesses and a laundry list of transit projects”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Ontario’s transit funding focuses on suburbs”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Tory says budget is a win for SmartTrack, transportation minister has a different take”, here.
- Globe and Mail commentary, “Infrastructure spending is no miracle cure”, here.
- Huffington Post Canada post, “Ontario Budget 2015: No New Taxes, Major Cuts as Province Tackles Deficit”, here.
- Huffington Post Canada post, “The Union-Pearson Express Train Gets a Big Thumbs Down”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Provincial budget supports transit in Toronto: Mayor John Tory”, here.
- column, “TOinTRANSIT: International survey to compare TTC to 20 other global subway networks”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Midtown Liberal MPs decry lack of infrastructure spending in federal budget”, here.
- iPolitics post, “Joe Oliver’s 905 budget: Let the election countdown begin”, here.
- Maclean’s article, “Ontario on the (long) road to a balanced budget”, here.
- Metro Toronto’s Tory’s Toronto post,
- National Post article, “Ontario budget 2015 by the numbers: from new transit funding to the province’s growing debt load”, here.
- National Post article, “Condo reforms, winter tires discounts and OSAP changes: 20 things to know about the Ontario’s 2015 budget”, here.
- National Post article, “How two Toronto streetcars managed to crash into each other during rush hour”, here.
- National Post article, “The little airport rail link that could: The most remarkable thing about the new rail link to Pearson airport is that it exists”, here.
- Newstalk 1010 report, “UPDATE: Provincial budget no ‘slash and burn’, finance minister “, here.
- NOW article, “Life in the fast lane”, here.
- Progressive Railroading article, “New Ontario light rail between Mississauga, Brampton in the works”, here.
- Railway Gazette International article, “Beer to fund light rail line”, here.
- Reuters article, “UPDATE 1 - Ontario pledges smaller deficits; labour unrest seen”, here.
- Talk Radio AM640 report, “Provincial Government Bids to Get Ontario Back to Black”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Province unveils $130B infrastructure push in Ontario budget”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “What the 2015 Ontario budget means for you”, here.
- Toronto Star editorial, “Ontario squeezes spending to build for the future”, here.
- Toronto Star column, “How we get bribed with our own money on transit”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Toronto councillors look for ways to pay for Scarborough subway extension”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “John Tory ‘delighted’ with provincial budget’s mention of SmartTrack plan”, here.
- Toronto Sun commentary, “Federal budget’s transit promises a sop to the gullible”, here.
- Toronto Sun column, “Ontario Liberals try to distract from incompetent budget”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “How the budget will affect you”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Man pushed onto subway tracks at College Station”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Fatal crash in Thornhill”, here.
- Waterloo Region Record article, “Train from downtown Toronto to Pearson to have a stop on Kitchener GO line”, here.
- YorkRegion.com editorial, “Federal budget misses the mark on transit”, here.
- YorkRegion.com article, “UPDATED: Mayor, MPP spar over elevator’s demise”, here.
- 610 CKTB News report, “Gates not happy Ontario budget won’t get Niagara GO-ing”, here.
- AM 900 CHML News report, “Ontario budget offers no new specifics about Hamilton transit funding”, here.
- Barrie Examiner article, “GO trains leaving earlier”, here.
- Bradford Times article, “Improved GO service ‘great’ for Bradford”, here.
- Bullet News Niagara article, “Caslin not discouraged by budget speech”, here.
- CBC News Hamilton report, “Provincial budget pledges ‘rapid transit’ for Hamilton — again”, here.
- CTV News Kitchener report, “Province may fund bigger share of LRT to Cambridge: Wynne”, here.
- Hamilton Spectator article, “Updated: Transit cash coming for Hamilton — but for which project?”, here.
- Guelph Mercury article, “Guelph GO Train times tweaked slightly, starting in May”, here.
- New Tecumseth Free Press Online post, “Additional bus route to industrial area”, here.
- NiagaraThisWeek.com article, “Now that’s one big bus shelter”, here.
- St. Catharines Standard column, “Niagara missed the train at budget time”, here.
- St. Catharines Standard article, “No Niagara GO expansion yet… but big bucks in budget for infrastructure”, here.
- Waterloo Region Record column, “We shouldn’t be punished for being financially responsible”, here.
- Waterloo Region Record article, “Region wants province to pay for light rail to Cambridge”, here.
Today, Thursday, April 23, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa released the province’s 2015 budget, which, the Government of Ontario says, “makes possible an unprecedented investment in infrastructure to support economic growth and new jobs.”
According to a government news release, “The budget acts on the government’s commitment to finding more innovative ways to grow the economy while maintaining the vital public services that families and communities rely on. This includes unlocking the value of provincial assets to support the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history.”
Just last week, Ontario moved ahead with its plan to “unlock the value of certain public assets”. This refers to the government’s proposal to sell some of its stake in Hydro One and to licence supermarkets and other grocers to sell beer, among other initiatives. The net gain from this provides Ontario with about $4 billion, which will go to the Trillium Trust where, the government explains in a news release, “every dollar is set to build new transit and other priority infrastructure projects through Moving Ontario Forward.”
Minister Sousa says the 2015 budget continues and expands on Ontario’s plan “to make an unprecedented investment of more than $130 billion in public infrastructure over 10 years”.
- increasing the funds it’s dedicated to the Moving Ontario Forward plan by $2.6 billion for a total of $31.5 billion over 10 years — about $16 billion in transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. The increase results from a higher target from the Province’s asset optimization plan, accelerates priority projects and enables new projects to come on stream.; and
- investing another $11.9 billion in 2015-16 on infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public transit, water systems, hospitals and schools.
So what projects can we expect to see in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton?
The chart lists the projects that are
- part of the Moving Ontario Forward Plan and that Ontario intends to fund entirely on its own;
- other projects with elements that the plan will fund but also require another funding partner to support other elements; and
- projects that would only proceed with another funding partner on board.
Projects in category 1 — entirely funded by Ontario — include:
- ongoing GO Transit improvements across the entire network;
- Regional express rail service on the Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines — an environmental assessment and design would start in 2015 - 2016, with construction likely to start in 2017 - 2018.
- Regional express rail service on the Barrie line — an environmental assessment and design would start in 2015 - 2016, with construction likely to start in 2016 - 2017;
- the Hurontario - Main light rail transit line, starting in 2017-2018; and
- Hamilton rapid transit, starting in 2018-2019.
Projects in category 2 — with some elements funded by Ontario — include:
- Regional express rail service on the Stouffville line — an environmental assessment and design would start in 2015 - 2016, with construction likely to start in 2016 - 2017;
- Regional express rail service on the Kitchener line — an environmental assessment, design and construction would start in 2015 - 2016; and
- Central system upgrades, including vehicles, rails and facilities.
(Regional express rail services on the Stouffville and Kitchener lines require more funding partners to incorporate elements of the SmartTrack plan, which was a key plank in Mayor John Tory’s electoral campaign platform.)
Projects in category 3 — which would only proceed with partner funding in place — include:
- an Eglinton West extension (the budget documents don’t explain whether this would be part of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line already under construction or part of SmartTrack); and
- the SmartTrack stations.
The total Ontario contribution would be $16 billion over ten years. To complete all projects in the list, the province would require another $5.2 billion dollars from other funding partners, likely the federal or municipal governments.
“Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca will announce in the coming weeks what’s in store for rapid transit funding in Hamilton - and the mayor is betting LRT will be a part of it.
“The new provincial budget shows ‘Hamilton rapid transit’ will be funded from a priority pot of $16 billion over 10 years, with a tentative funding timeline of 2018 through 2024…
“City council controversially asked for $811 million for light rail — along with $302 million for express buses and a garage, despite fears the province might only fund the latter.
“The budget doesn’t say how much cash the city will receive, or for what project.
“But Mayor Fred Eisenberger said Thursday night the city is in line for a ‘higher-order, visionary investment.’
“Eisenberger said he talked to Del Duca and local Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin on budget day, but added he doesn’t have advance knowledge of the announcement.
“‘But my sense of it is an element of LRT will be included in (the announcement),’ he said, adding he wouldn’t rule out the idea of receiving money for both projects. ‘Everything that I’m hoping for could very well land within the transit envelope.’
“McMeekin refused to preview the announcement, but promised ‘very good things are going to be happening for Hamilton.’”
- BlogTO post, “Photo of the Day: Empty Allen Road”, here.
- Brampton Guardian article, “LRT will ‘transform’ and revitalize Brampton, says mayor”, here.
- Canadian Press article (from the 680 All News Radio website), “Federal budget’s transit funding amounts to ‘crumbs’, Ontario says”, here.
- Canadian Press article (from the InsideHalton.com webpage), “Road rage: Mixed reviews for transit fund”, here.
- Canadian Press article (from the National Post website), “Ontario Liberals spending $1.6 billion for LRT linking Brampton and Mississauga”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “John Tory, Charles Sousa split on what federal budget means for Toronto, Ontario”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Brampton, Mississauga to get new 23 km light rail line”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Union Pearson express to start running June 6”, here.
- CHCH News report, “$1.6 billion LRT line to link Brampton, Mississauga”, here.
- CP24 report, “Union-Pearson Express will be up and running June 6”, here.
- CTV News report, “Budget 2015: What opposition leaders, mayors and lobby groups are saying”, here.
- Daily Commercial News article, “New Public Transit Fund unveiled in 2015 Budget”, here.
- Global News Toronto report, “Federal budget 2015 targets gridlocked urban commuters with mass transit fund”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Federal budget promise of new transit fundng a major step forward: Tory”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Toronto’s airport-downtown rail link to start service on June 6”, here.
- Huffington Post Canada post, “Ontario Needs to Prioritize Its Transit Spending”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Mayor Tory takes optimistic view of federal budget”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Union Pearson Express lie to open for service June 6”, here.
- Metro Toronto’s Tory’s Toronto post, “Federal budget’s transit promises do little to help cities now”, here.
- Mississauga News article, “Hurontario LRT gets big boost from Queen’s Park”, here.
- Mississauga News article, “Mayor calls LRT funding decision a ‘game-changer’”, here.
- Mississauga News article, “LRT construction funded, but what about other costs, councillors wonder”, here.
- National Post article, “Federal Budget 2015: Tories slice out a (small) surplus for pre-election books”, here.
- Talk Radio AM640 report, “Transit, Infrastructure, Beer Tax to be Detailed in Ontario Budget”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Tory, Colle differ on federal budget transit funding”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Conservative government unveils scattershot election budget”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “What the federal budget means for Toronto”, here.
- Toronto Star column, “Swing voters may want more than what Harper’s budget is offering”, here.
- Toronto Star editorial, “Ontario needs to keep transit money rolling in”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Ontario budget will be about building transit, Wynne says”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Liberals will invest $49.8B in transit in GTHA over the next decade”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Liberals promise $1.6 billion for ‘transofrmational’ Hurontario LRT”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Reality rains on Mississauga’s LRT celebration”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Harper budget on the right track: Tory”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Harper budget ‘slap in the face’, Sousa says”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Infrastructure will feature in budget, Wynne says”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “The Ups and Downs of the new UP Express”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “New LRT will connect Mississauga and Brampton”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Gardiner lanes opened two months ahead of schedule”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “DVP, Scarborough RT closed this weekend”, here.
- Cambridge Times article, “Federal budget not going to help city projects”, here.
- CBC News Hamilton report, “Did Brampton just get Hamilton’s LRT money?”, here.
- CBC News Kitchener - Waterloo report, “Waterloo Region leaders question federal budget funding for transit”, here.
- CKTB News report, “Transit announcement brings Niagara GO expansion into question”, here.
- CTV News Kitchener report, “Left wanting by federal budget, local leaders hope for more from province”, here.
- Hamilton Spectator article, “Mayor crosses fingers and minister promises ‘good news’ on transit funding”, here.
- Hamilton Spectator article, “15-minute GO train service for city up to 10 years away: province”, here.
- Peterborough Examiner article, “City eyes new transit funding”, here.
- St. Catharines Standard article, “Savers, seniors and families targeted by federal budget”, here.
The City of Toronto is closing
- the Don Valley Parkway between Highway 401 and the Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway
from 10 p.m. Friday, April 24 until 6 a.m. Sunday, April 26 to conduct its annual spring maintenance. To ensure the safety of workers completing the various maintenance tasks, the City shuts down the entire roadway in both directions. The City is reopening the roadway early Sunday morning to help improve traffic conditions during the annual Khalsa Parade, which proceeds that day along various city streets.
Closing the Parkway affects bus service along GO Transit’s 65 Newmarket / Toronto, 71 Stouffville / Toronto and 90 Lakeshore East routes. Although the buses serve all regular stops, passengers should expect detours and delays in service.
This Saturday, April 25, GO Transit is decreasing the frequency of service along the 01 Lakeshore West line. GO trains drop off or pick up passengers at stations along the line every hour, instead of every 30 minutes, as crews upgrade the railway crossing and tracks near Clarkson GO Station.
GO buses operate with their regular schedules. GO trains operating along the 09 Lakeshore East line also operate with regular schedules, but some passengers may have to switch trains at Union Station and wait as long as 30 minutes for the next train serving the 01 Lakeshore West line.
You can view the special schedule for the 01 Lakeshore West line this Saturday here.
- replace railway ties;
- replace gravel and stone; and
- level tracks.
GO regularly performs maintenance work like this across the system to provide safe and reliable service.
MiWay is raising some of its fares, it says, “to offset cost pressures in [Mississauga]’s 2015 transit budget”, starting Sunday, April 27. However, it will freeze high-school student and child fares at the 2009 rate for another year.
According to the transit agency, “The changes help maintain a balance between affordable transit for customers and a reasonable cost recovery for Mississauga’s taxpayers. MiWay aims to recover about half the cost of operating the transit system through fares, while the remaining costs are funded through municipal taxes. Twenty-three per cent of municipal tax dollars - the largest portion - help to fund MiWay service.”
To continue to encourage passengers to use PRESTO fare cards to pay fares, it’s increasing the cash fare to $3.50 from $3.25. Monthly passes for high-school students will no longer be available starting Canada Day, Wednesday, July 1, while annual passes for seniors will no longer be available starting New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1, 2016.
Passengers who use PRESTO cards can earn free trips on MiWay and other local transit systems and pay just 80 cents to ride when transferring between MiWay and GO Transit.
To align its fares with those of other transit fares in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton, MiWay will base fares by age, rather than school grade level. High-school student fares now apply to students between the ages of 13 and 19, while children’s fares apply to young people six years of age or older and 12 years or younger. \ You can view information about “new” and “old” MiWay fares here.
The TTC is closing the 3 Scarborough rapid transit line this weekend, Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 as crews replace 366 metres of track, install new communication cables and test the power supplies.
Buses replace service along the entire line between McCowan and Kennedy stations, stopping at all stations along the way. You can also exit the buses at other transit stops if you ask the drivers to stop. Collector booths at all Line 3 stations remain open so you can buy TTC fares.
Wheel-Trans vehicles will be available if you need accessible transit between Kennedy and McCowan stations. You can speak with any uniformed TTC employee at either station to use this service.
While the rapid transit line is closed, crews are:
- replacing rails along the curve track section north of Kennedy Station;
- continuing to maintain trees north of the Mooregate Bridge;
- inspecting and installing new communication cables; and
- testing the power supplies.
They’ll work “around-the-clock” to make sure they finish before Monday service starts. Track crews working at the curve north of Kennedy Station will start early Saturday morning shortly after regular Friday service ends. Expect noise when some of the equipment is fully operating.
Crews will maintain trees and conduct most inspections during daytime.
Regular service resumes Monday, April 27 at 6 a.m.
This is the first of five occasions that the TTC has scheduled for closing Line 3 this year as it refurbishes vehicles, tracks and signals for the line and provides more reliable and comfortable service over the next 10 years. The TTC will “decommission” the line — stop operating trains — after it opens the Scarborough subway extension. It has scheduled the next closure for Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21.
Premier Kathleen Wynne rode a Union Pearson Express train to day Wednesday, April 22 to announce that the trains officially go into service Saturday, June 6, linking Toronto Pearson International Airport with Union Station.
Metroinx predicts that UP Express trains will carry 2.35 million passengers a year by 2018. Toronto Pearson and Union Station are Canada’s busiest transportation hubs — and likely will serve 190 million travellers a year by 2031 — twice their current annual traffic.
The government and Metrolinx expect that the airport-to-downtown rail link will remove 1.2 million car trips from roads across the region in its first year of operation alone.
Yesterday, Tuesday, April 21, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver delivered good news — sort of — for transit commuters in Canada’s largest cities.
In presenting the Government of Canada’s 2015 budget, Oliver earmarked $750 million over two years… and $1 billion each year afterwards, to a new Public Transit Fund. The Government says that this is its “largest targeted infrastructure program”, which “will promote public transit infrastructure investment in a manner that is affordable for taxpayers and efficient for commuters.”
“The government is proposing to create a public transit fund that would invest in transit infrastructure such as light rail, subways and bus routes. The aim is to increase ridership and lower congestion on the roads. Money from the fund would go to projects in which private interests are willing to invest - in other words, public-private partnerships. The federal government would also consider paying its portion of a transit project over 20 or 30 years instead of providing the total contribution up front. Details of the program will be released later this year, possibly during the election campaign.”
So, why is this only sort-of good news? The Post’s Kennedy explains that the first $750 million isn’t quite what it seems and it won’t be available for two years: “…the first federal allocation, $250 million, won’t be provided until 2017-18 and would then increase to $500 million in 2018-19 and $1 billion permanently in 2019-20.”
Also, as Galloway writes in The Globe:
“Some say it’s not enough. Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, for instance, said his province needs more than what is being offered for infrastructure such as for public transit in the Greater Toronto Area. Plus, the requirement that there must be a public-private partnership could hobble municipalities where no private investors can be found. But Brad Woodside, the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, says most municipal transit projects entail the private sector in some capacity.”
Watch for more transit goodies tomorrow, Thursday, April 23 when Minister Sousa presents Ontario’s 2015 budget.
Just to put that annual $1 billion in context, we note that Wikipedia lists 50 Canadian cities with populations greater than 100,000. Twelve of them — Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Oakville, Burlington, Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax lie — in the Greater Toronto area. Another six — Hamilton, Kitchener, Barrie, St. Catharines, Cambridge and Guelph — are in the Greater Golden Horsehoe area. Yesterday, the Ontario Government announced that it was shelling out $1.6 billion — an entire annual federal contribution — to fund the Hurontario - Main light rail transit line in Mississauga and Brampton.