AS PART of the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Toronto’s first subway line on March 30, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty were due to announce a C$1bn package to fund renovation of the network over the next five years.

The province’s share was approved by the Ontario cabinet on March 3, and the government’s contribution will come from the national infrastructure fund. Toronto Transit Commission is facing an operating loss of C$48m this year, and has set a C$3·8bn capital programme to restore its existing metro, tram and bus networks by 2014, including the replacement of 232 metro cars, 196 LRVs, 16 cars for the Scarborough ALRT and 1380 low-floor buses.

Chief General Manager Rick Ducharme said the ’first phase’ package would not provide funding for any extensions. However, he felt the political climate was ’much more positive’ for discussing further investment.