CANADA: Toronto’s ambitious and expensive Transit City light rail expansion programme look set to be scaled back drastically as the result of budget cuts by the Ontario provincial government.

Regional transport agency Metrolinx was notified on March 25 that C$4bn promised for Transit City would be delayed by at least five years, and possibly longer, because the recession had reduced tax revenues. Some of the proposed new lines that were previously unfunded could eventually be cancelled if the financial crisis continues (MR 12.09 p26).

According to Ontario Transport Minister Kathleen Wynne, projects which are likely to be postponed include the Eglinton and Finch lines and conversion of the 6·4 km Scarborough Rapid Transit to light rail.

Still going ahead as planned are the Sheppard East light rail route and two non-Transit City projects: the air-rail link between central Toronto and Pearson International Airport, and the Spadina subway extension into York Region. C$4bn is still available for the remaining projects and Metrolinx will have the final say on how this will be spent.

* Toronto Transit Commission voted on March 24 to gradually retrofit its subway stations with platform screen doors, primarily as a suicide prevention measure. TTC will seek project funding in its 2011-15 capital budget and, if successful, would begin installing PSDs at the busiest locations. The cost is put at around C$10m per station.