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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Canadian government is spending $1B to fight transit congestion in Toronto

With Canada's 2019 federal election now exactly two months away, political candidates and government officials are starting to trot out their biggest and shiniest plans for voters.

Some of those plans are coming the form of campaign promises, while others — specifically those from the ruling Liberal government — are coming in the form of major investments.

Unless they're booted from office this October, Justin Trudeau's team has pledged to spend more than $1 billion on public transit projects throughout the GTA, including a whopping $500 million expansion of Toronto's overcrowded Bloor-Yonge Station.

Canada's Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Francois-Philippe Champagne, announced the funding alongside provincial and municipal leaders during a press conference in Scarborough Monday morning.

"The Government of Canada knows just how many Torontonians rely on public transit to commute in and around the city each day and are well aware of how important strong effective transit infrastructure is to building a stronger middle class, preserving the environment and helping to reduce traffic gridlock," said Champagne in a media release.

"The projects we are announcing today in the GTA will improve transit services, promoting safer and better ways for commuters to get where they need to be."

The federal government says it is targeting Bloor-Yonge Station, specifically, as the busiest subway station in Toronto at more than 200,000 passengers every weekday. 

Their goal with the expansion is to alleviate the bottlenecking Bloor-Yonge Station has become known for, both speeding up commutes and improving rider safety.

If all goes well, this will be done with the construction of an additional platform on Line 2 at Yonge Station, modifications to the existing passenger platform on Line 1 Bloor Station, and the construction of a new electrical substation.

Roughly $585,200,000 will be spent constructing six new SmartTrack Stations stations along the Stouffville, Lakeshore East, and Kitchener GO rail corridors.

"The SmartTrack Stations Program will leverage existing heavy rail infrastructure and the Province's GO Rail Expansion Program to increase local service and expand transit options for residents traveling within and beyond the City," reads the government's press release.

Funding for both projects will come from Canada's Long-Term Infrastructure Plan, a program launched in 2016 that is meant to see the feds invest more than $180 billion over 12 years into building "the cities of the 21st century" and providing communities far and wide "with the tools they need to prosper and innovate."

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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