CANADA: Toronto regional transport authority Metrolinx has published a draft version of ‘The Big Move', its C$50bn long-range transport plan (RG 5.08 p277), but admits that the required funding sources are still unidentified. One potential revenue stream that had been unofficially discussed - road tolls and congestion pricing - has been rejected, at least for now.

However, Metrolinx officials insist the scheme is urgently needed to relieve ever-increasing road congestion that threatens to choke the Toronto-Hamilton region.

The 25-year package includes 100 specific projects totalling some 1 150 km of new dedicated rail and bus transit services. If completed, 75% of homes would be within 2 km of rapid transit compared with 42% today. Transit would also increase its modal share of all trips by about 10%, to approximately 26%. Average commuting time would be reduced by 5 min from current levels, but if nothing were done the figure would soar, according to Metrolinx officials.

Projects would be grouped into three general phases, although specific construction schedules for new lines have not been specified. Some of the rail proposals include:

  • extending the Spadina subway to York Region and Vaughan, on which work is nearly ready to start as part of earlier planning;
  • an extension of the Yonge subway to Richmond Hill;
  • a new rail route on Eglinton Avenue, connecting a substantially upgraded Scarborough RT line with Pearson International Airport;
  • rapid transit, possibly light rail, along Hurontario St from Port Credit to Mississauga City Centre and Brampton.

GO Transit rail services would also be expanded, including express trains on the Lakeshore line and an extension to Bowmanville. Following public hearings, a final report will be presented to political leaders.