The federal government will help pay for a Scarborough subway extension, joining forces with the provincial government and city hall to foot the multi-billion-dollar bill.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged financial support for the subway project Sunday afternoon at a meeting with Mayor Rob Ford, but he did not provide details of how much Ottawa plans to pay.
“Mr. Flaherty and I, subject of course to the normal approval process, have set aside funds to ensure the financing of Toronto’s plan for the Scarborough subway extension,” Harper said at a photo session with Ford at a hotel near Pearson International Airport.
“I think this is good news for Toronto commuters who obviously continue to face the challenges of gridlock.”
It’s unclear whether Harper has come up with new money or if the federal dollars have been reallocated from the $1.8-billion light rail project, which was halted in August.
The Scarborough subway extension is estimated to cost hundreds of millions more than the LRT line and will connect the Bloor-Danforth line through to Scarborough.
The city and province have argued about exactly where the extended line will run. The city has advocated for a route up McCowan Rd. to Sheppard Ave. E, while Queen’s Park wants to follow the current SRT corridor to the Scarborough Town Centre.
Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray began publicly pressuring Ottawa for its support after Queen’s Park promised $1.4-billion for the project.
Councillor Karen Stintz told the Star Sunday she is pleased to hear the news, but she’s curious to hear the exact details of Ottawa’s support.
“I think it’s a great announcement for the council-approved line, and I have confidence in the next few days that we’ll get clarification for the dollar amount,” Stintz said.
Ford told reporters Sunday that the project is a sign of Harper’s continued support of Toronto.
“This has been a long battle but this is what the people want,” Ford said. “This is great news for business, it’s going to create thousands of jobs and this is exactly what the doctor ordered.”
Ford and Harper were joined at the meeting Sunday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who is set to make an announcement of his own on Monday morning at a community centre, not far from Kennedy Subway station.