Toronto Mayor John Tory says his costly SmartTrack plan has come an important step closer to fruition after the province included $2.8 billion to electrify the Stouffville and Kitchener lines in its budget.
The mayor has always maintained that the projected $8-billion price tag for SmartTrack would have to be split evenly three ways between the city and the provincial and federal governments.
The provincial budget pointed out that SmartTrack still needs “additional funding” to the tune of $5.2 billion.
Tory will now seek the federal government’s share through its new dedicated national public transportation fund which was announced by Finance Minister Joe Oliver during Tuesday’s federal budget.
“At the earliest opportunity I will be submitting SmartTrack for (federal) funding consideration,” he said.
Tory seemed confident that he could come up with the rest of the money now that the province has made a commitment.
“My job is to make sure the city (money) is there and the federal government (money) is there and I intend to do both.”
“We have a substantial (provincial) contribution in the form of the electrification of the lines that were necessary to make SmartTrack work,” he told reporters Thursday.
The budget also includes money for infrastructure upgrades like double-tracking which Tory called crucial to the plan.
“I think this has been a big and important week for transit in Toronto.”
“Today we had further confirmation of the provincial government’s commitment to SmartTrack.”
In February, Toronto city council approved a $1.6-million study on the SmartTrack transit plan.