Ontario’s 30-year GTA transportation plan includes new transit lines, highways

It comes with an $82 billion price tag but few details on feasibility.  As Cynthia Mulligan notes, it could be the government was trying to change the channel to divert attention from dropping mask mandates.

The Ontario government announced a 30-year plan for public transit and highway expansions across the Greater Toronto Area and Golden Horseshoe, with plans to spend $82 billion in the next decade.

As part of the 30-year plan, the province announced two conceptual transit ideas, plans to connect the Ontario Line to Pearson airport and plans to connect Burlington to Oshawa via a new LRT, though few details were provided on either proposal.

“We’re pouring money into infrastructure, making sure that people get from point A to point B,”  said Premier Doug Ford, who was in Woodbridge Thursday morning to make the announcement.

“People don’t want to be sitting in gridlock, we’re going to make sure we continue building highways and roads and bridges.”

The project aims to better connect the heavily populated Greater Golden Horseshoe region in Southern Ontario and the province says it “will support population and employment growth, reduce gridlock, connect communities.”

Many elements of the plan are not fully costed outside of the investment over the first 10 years. The province will invest $61 billion for public transit and $21 billion to support highway expansion over the next 10 years.

In addition to the two new conceptual transit plans, the public transit expansion by 2051 includes the new Eglinton Crosstown, Hurontario, Hamilton and Finch West LRT lines. It also includes extensions of the yet-to-be completed Ontario Line, Yonge subway line and the Scarborough LRT.

Proposed 2051 rapid transit network

rapid transit network

The province says they will expand the GO rail network to include frequent two-way trips and 15-minute service all day long.

Other parts of the project include expanding the highway network in the region by building the controversial Highway 413 and Bradford Bypass. The proposed highways have received their share of criticism with detractors claiming the new routes will have significant environmental impact without saving much time for drivers.

The province also intends to widen bottlenecks on Highways 400, 401, 403 and the QEW.

Proposed 2051 highway network

rapid transit network

The plan is laid out a few months before the provincial election in June and comes on the heels of a slew of other transportation related announcement in recent weeks.

Last week, the province announced the elimination of double fares for some GO Transit riders in the GTA, not including the TTC.

In February, Ford confirmed his government will scrap licence plate renewal fees and stickers and offer refunds for eligible Ontario drivers. The move will take effect on March 13.

Ontario also recently announced it would be removing tolls on Highways 412 and 418 in Durham Region as of April 5.

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