|As SmartTrack Reaches Milestone, Province Allocates Funding for Next Stage of Major Transit Projects|
Ontario and the City of Toronto have reached a major milestone in the integrated GO Regional Express Rail (RER)/SmartTrack project that will add six new GO/SmartTrack stations in the city, and transform GO Transit into an affordable and convenient option for trips within Toronto.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the GO Transit Willowbrook Maintenance Facility in Toronto today with Toronto Mayor John Tory to formally sign a SmartTrack Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). With GO RER/SmartTrack moving ahead, the Premier also announced that Ontario’s fiscal plan, as outlined in the 2018 Budget, allocates the provincial share required to build the next stage of major transit projects in the region, which includes the Relief Line Subway, the Yonge North Subway Extension and the Waterfront LRT.
Under the MOU, Toronto will fund the construction of six GO/SmartTrack stations, which will be completed by 2025 as part of an expanded GO rail network with increased service. The new SmartTrack stations will offer commuters a fast, affordable new way to get around the city and enhance Ontario’s enormous expansion of GO rail service across the region. As the Budget 2018 announced, all GO Transit trips within Toronto, which includes SmartTrack, will cost PRESTO card users just $3 per trip.
Working with cities to continually build new rapid transit options is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free licensed preschool child care from 2 ˝ to kindergarten.
“The days of waiting years between big transit projects are over. We are building a record amount of infrastructure, and we are not stopping. Under our plan, the province is putting up its share for priority transit projects, such as the Relief Line Subway, the Yonge North Subway Extension and the Waterfront LRT. The SmartTrack MOU we signed shows that we are serious about building tomorrow’s transit solutions today.”
–– Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
“Public transit is an essential service. In Toronto and across the GTHA, there are hundreds of thousands of people who depend on public transit every day to get them where they need to be. The SmartTrack stations program builds on the work we have already done to expand GO Transit service, delivering more trips and better service for commuters and families across our region.”
–– Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Transportation
“Today is good news for SmartTrack and Toronto residents. Today’s SmartTrack MOU signing between the City and the Province is a significant milestone in the life of the project. SmartTrack will provide real relief for transit riders and because it uses existing surface rail lines that relief will come much faster than any other project we are building. The City is committed to getting on with building SmartTrack, the Relief Line and every other priority transit project.”
–– John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
“It’s wonderful that we can use our fantastic relationship with the City of Toronto to bring even better service to our region. We are passionate about connecting communities, and these six stations will enable people to get where they want to go faster and easier. It’s also another important step in our plans to bring GO Expansion to the region, effectively connecting people quicker to where they live, work and play.”
–– Phil Verster, President and CEO, Metrolinx
The six SmartTrack stations to be added to the GO network in Toronto will be Finch-Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy on the Stouffville corridor; Gerrard-Carlaw and East Harbour on the Stouffville/Lakeshore East corridor; and King-Liberty and St. Clair-Old Weston on the Kitchener corridor.
GO RER, which includes SmartTrack, is the largest rail project in Canada. It will quadruple the number of weekly trips across the GO rail network, from about 1,500 to nearly 6,000 by 2024-25. SmartTrack builds on these transit improvements by adding new stations within the city of Toronto and offering frequent, fast service along core sections of the Kitchener, Lakeshore and Stouffville corridors.
Under the MOU, trains will service SmartTrack stations every 5.5 to 10 minutes during peak periods.
The City of Toronto will contribute up to $1.46 billion towards the capital costs of the six SmartTrack stations. Ontario’s $21.3 billion capital investment over 10 years is transforming GO Transit from a commuter transit service to a regional rapid transit system.
Ontario is lowering the cost of taking public transit. Commuters who transfer between GO and the TTC now pay a discounted, $1.50 TTC fare when they use their PRESTO card. To make transit even more affordable, the 2018 Budget lowers the cost of GO Transit trips to just $3 with a PRESTO card when travelling less than 10 kilometres or anywhere within Toronto, which includes SmartTrack.
On March 14, Ontario signed a bilateral agreement with the federal government under the Investing in Canada plan to provide $8.3 billion in federal funds and $7.3 billion in matching provincial funding over the next 10 years for priority transit infrastructure projects across Ontario.
Alicia Ali 5/3/2018