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Toronto backs subway plan

The city below finally expresses its support for the Yonge St. subway extension

ON ITS WAY? The City of Toronto voiced its conditional support for the Yonge subway extension this week. The 6.5-kilometre addition is expected to cost between $1.6 and $2.4 billion. It could be ready for passengers by 2016. (Courtesy TTC)

The City of Toronto signalled its conditional support for the Yonge St. subway extension Monday, giving the project an important shot in the arm.

With York Region leading the push, the province’s announcement of its intent to back the initiative in its $17.5-billion Move Ontario 2020 plan and Metrolinx naming the extension as a priority, only Toronto’s endorsement was conspicuously absent. Until now.

The news has Vaughan’s mayor and several councillors excited about the rate at which the subway plan is moving ahead.

“This is so unusual, this rapid speed, pardon the pun,” Regional Councillor Mario Ferri said Tuesday from Florida. “This is amazing, keeping in mind that the subway extension was just a dream two years ago and it’s so much closer to reality now.

“It goes to show you that where there is a willingness to cooperate, good things can happen.”

The 6.5-kilometre Yonge subway extension plan is expected to cost between $1.6 and $2.4 billion and could be ready to accept its first passengers in 2016. Six subway stations are planned: at Cummer Ave., Steeles Ave., Clark Ave., Royal Orchard Blvd., Longbridge Rd. and Richmond Hill Centre, with 1,900 parking spaces in the hydro corridor at Longbridge.

“Transit really doesn’t know any borders,” Mayor Linda Jackson said Tuesday. “This will not only assist the residents from Toronto, but residents from all of York Region, including Vaughan.

“This is certainly going to open up a lot of opportunities in that corridor for future employment and residential growth.”

Subway planners are working to complete an environmental project report by Feb. 5, which will be followed by a 65-day public review period. After that, the province will make the ultimate decision.

“Our hope will be they will quickly approve the assessment, which will then allow it to be part of the spring budget,” Councillor Alan Shefman said Monday. “(Toronto’s support) is great because it is very important that they be partners and be fully involved with this process.

“That’s very, very good news for us.”

Vaughan Today
In print: January 9, 2009, page 3
Online: January 10, 2009 [link]