The trimmed-down version of Transit City is on track for approval this week by the Metrolinx board of directors, despite repeated criticism of the plan’s longer construction timelines by Toronto Mayor David Miller.
Metrolinx CEO Rob Prichard told the Toronto Board of Trade yesterday that his agency is poised to order custom tunnel-boring machines for the underground section of the Eglinton line and the streetcars for Sheppard.
The Metrolinx board is expected to approve the new timelines on regional transit projects that were recommended after the province cut $4 billion in its disbursements over the first five years of construction.
Prichard made an impassioned case for accepting a slower phase-in on the projects, as opposed to further delay in getting started. The plan urges spending $8.15 billion on light rail transit along Sheppard, Eglinton and Finch, and rebuilding the Scarborough Rapid Transit line, plus $1.35 billion to build bus express lanes in York Region.
The plan calls for the first phase of Toronto’s four approved LRT lines to be built over 10 years, rather than eight as originally envisioned. It also delays the construction of about 23 kilometres and 25 stops until Metrolinx releases an Investment Strategy by June 2013 that would deliver revenue needed to build those sections.