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Feds on board with Spadina extension

Funding agreement close, major work to begin late 2009

The ceremonial first shovelfuls of earth signalling the start of major construction on the Spadina subway extension are expected in late September, officials say.

All that’s left for serious work to begin is the signing of a contribution agreement — the document outlining who pays for what — by the subway’s main partners: the City of Toronto, York Region, the province and the federal government.

“That’s the last peg,” said Andy Bertolo, the TTC’s chief project manager on the Spadina extension. “When that agreement is signed, that constitutes full funding approval.”

The four partners have already accepted the terms of the agreement in principle, he said, though when it will be signed is still up in the air.

Peter Van Loan, federal government leader in the House of Commons and York–Simcoe MP, says he expects a public announcement on the contribution agreement “quite soon”.

“It’s long overdue infrastructure,” he said Monday. “It’s an important step in recognizing that York Region is where growth is happening, that’s where we need to see new investment to meet those growth needs and that we need to address congestion for the sake of the economy.”

Preliminary work on the subway extension is already underway, Bertolo said, including the process of retaining nine engineering and architectural firms to design the tunnels and six stations. An announcement on those contracts is expected within a month, he said.

Major construction is expected to begin in late 2009 and continue to late 2014, Bertolo added. Once construction is wrapped up, he said, it will take a few more months to ensure the new line is safe and reliable.

“At this point in time, we’re maintaining schedule and budget,” Bertolo said. “We expect to have everything done and running the first trains by mid-2015.”

With all the necessary approvals in place, Van Loan said, the federal government is hoping work moves quickly.

“Sadly it’s not going all the way up to York–Simcoe,” he said with a laugh. “But it is important.

“If we have better transit and better roads, the economy will work better and that’s important for the critical economic-growth role that York Region plays.”

Vaughan Today
Online: August 2, 2008 [link]