CANADA: The province of Ontario pledged financial support for a number of urban transit and suburban rail projects in the 2008 budget presented on March 25.

Of the C$1bn in funding for municipal infrastructure allocated in the budget, C$497m is to be spent on public transport projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas. The province intends to fund a series of 'quick win' projects identified by the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, now branded Metrolinx.

Of these, C$293m has been pledged for capacity enhancement on the Yonge Subway, and C$382m will be spent on replacement and renewal of GO Transit assets and rolling stock, as well as improvements at Toronto's Union station (RG 12.07 p749).

A C$60m contribution is being made for the procurement of additional double-deck coaches for GO Transit services, while a project to build passing loops on the Bradford and Stouffville lines receives C$20m.

In the longer term, the province confirmed its commitment to fund C$11·5bn of the projected C$17·5bn cost of the MoveOntario 2020 programme which would create 902 km of new or upgraded rapid transit infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. Provincial officials called on the federal government to provide the remaining C$6bn. The province has equally signalled its desire to see a rapid transit system built for the Waterloo region, suggesting that it would be prepared to underwrite up to two-thirds of the cost. A 10 km light rail line has previously been proposed to link Kitchener and Waterloo (RG 6.04 p326).

  • The metro station serving the Royal Ontario and Gardiner museums in Toronto has been redesigned with columns representing first nations, ancient Egyptian, Mexican, Chinese and classical Greek cultures.