Ontario transit update – Metrolinx

Written by John Thompson, Canadian Contributing Editor
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Metrolinx, the Ontario Government’s transit agency, has dropped its appeal of the court decision earlier this year that had prevented the authority from cancelling a C$770 million order with Bombardier for 182 Flexity Freedom LRVs.

The agency declined to provide an explanation for its decision, but said it would continue its dispute resolution process with Bombardier.

In May of this year, Metrolinx placed an order for 61 Alstom Citadis LRVs, valued at C$528 million. This is the same vehicle that is being purchased for the Ottawa Confederation LRT line extension, due to open in 2018.

Metrolinx, in announcing the purchase, said that it was taking steps to insure that it had sufficient, satisfactory cars on hand for the opening of Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT in 2021, and had serious doubts about Bombardier’s ability to do so. There have been significant delays in Bombardier’s promised delivery of two prototype LRVs for the line.

Forty-four Alstom LRVs would be assigned to the Crosstown, with the other 17 going to the seven-mile Finch West LRT. Construction is scheduled to begin on this line in 2018. The Citadis is a larger car than the Flexity Freedom.

In a related development, the city of Toronto is receiving a federal grant of C$4.8 billion to help finance planned rail transit projects. Conditions of the grant include a stipulation that the provincial government must provide a minimum 33% share of the cost of any such projects, over and above the federal funds. Toronto Mayor John Tory said he hoped that the province would accept a 40-40-20 financing arrangement, with the city being responsible for the smaller amount.

The planned transit improvements include the Downtown Relief Subway (a rapid transit project), the Waterfront LRT, and the Eglinton East LRT (the latter would be an extension of the under-construction Crosstown LRT that will terminate at TTC’s Kennedy subway station). None of these projects have progressed beyond the conceptual stage. The recent significant increases in federal transit grants represent a major policy change for the Canadian government. Transit funding had traditionally been the responsibility of the provinces and municipalities. In fact, Toronto’s original Yonge Street Subway, opened in 1954, was financed almost entirely by the Toronto Transit Commission.






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