Construction has started on a new light rail line in north Toronto that will eventually link up with the city’s massive transit system.

Government officials at the groundbreaking yesterday said the Sheppard East Light Rail Transit line will create jobs, increase ridership, improve air quality and reduce travel time.

Those on hand included Conservative MP Peter Kent, Ontario’s Transportation Minister Jim Bradley and Toronto Mayor David Miller.

The 14-kilometre light rail line will be built on Sheppard Avenue East in a dedicated right of way running from the Don Mills subway station to Meadowvale Road.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty formed a partnership this year to help fund the project.

The federal government will contribute one-third of the total cost, to a maximum of $333 million, with the provincial government providing two-thirds, or more than $633 million.

The Sheppard East light rail line is part of the Transit City initiative to expand rapid transit to all neighbourhoods throughout Toronto.

“This transit line will provide residents, students and commuters with an additional transportation choice, improving their ability to travel quickly and efficiently,” said Kent.

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