A Downtown Relief Line subway project for Toronto could be approved by the Metrolinx board as early as next year, the transit planning agency’s CEO said Thursday, June 27.
Though it will likely take 15 years to approve, design and fully build the Downtown Relief Line to ease congestion on the subway system, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig was confident the $7.4 billion undertaking – which will require funding through dedicated taxes and user fees – will receive Metrolinx’s stamp of approval by the third quarter of 2014.
“We’re going to try to keep all the timelines we set out,” said McCuaig after a board meeting Thursday.
“People want to see a schedule, and that we’re meeting that schedule, so our objective is to hit the timelines we set for ourself.”
Before that goal is be reached, a preliminary planning study needs to be completed, which will examine specifics of the project.
Coinciding with studies already underway by the TTC and the city, the Metrolinx work will expand the focus beyond Toronto and look at how the line might potentially be integrated regionally with GO Transit. McCuaig said Metrolinx would collaborate on the study with the city and TTC.
“We need to get all that work done collaboratively and bring the outcomes to the board, TTC and city for a decision,” said McCuaig.
During the public portion of the quarterly meeting, Metrolinx’s board of directors received a series of updates on the progress of transit projects already under construction in Toronto.
Those projects include the Union Pearson Express air rail link, the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown light rail line and an extensive renovation of Union Station.
The board also heard from GO’s president on the regional transit provider’s intention to run trains every 30 minutes on the Lakeshore corridor starting Saturday, June 29, which Gary McNeil called a “paradigm shift”.
“Customers won’t have to look at their schedules, they’ll be able to get to a GO station and get their trains,” said McNeil. “It changes how you look at the service by moving toward a higher frequency.”