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Province makes commitment to Transit City

<p>After weeks of warnings from Mayor David Miller that the province had put a stake through the heart of his Transit City light rail plan, Queen’s Park has confirmed in writing that all four previously approved lines will be built — albeit in 10 years rather than eight.</p> <p> <br /></p>

After weeks of warnings from Mayor David Miller that the province had put a stake through the heart of his Transit City light rail plan, Queen’s Park has confirmed in writing that all four previously approved lines will be built — albeit in 10 years rather than eight.

A letter from the province to the city suggests Metrolinx has come up with a plan to keep all four previously announced Transit City projects, as well as York Region’s express bus lanes, on the map, despite a $4-billion funding cut over the next five years.

“Initial work by Metrolinx suggests that the four Transit City projects can reasonably be completed in 10 years, while achieving the required savings of $4 billion in the first five years,” says the April 27 letter to city manager Joe Pennachetti.

The province had repeatedly committed $9.5 billion to Metrolinx’s Big Five transit projects.

But in the March provincial budget, Premier Dalton McGuinty ordered Metrolinx to cut $4 billion from those projects over the next five years.

A furious Miller suggested the cut would mean the end of one or more of the Transit City lines, even as the province offered repeated assurances that the projects would continue, just more slowly.

It’s not known yet if the five-over-10 plan means adjusting the projects. Metrolinx’s plan calls for Sheppard to be built on the original timeline of 2013, but would put the other projects on a later schedule.

 
 
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