May 24, 2017
Mayor John Tory was at Pape transit station early Wednesday morning, with flyers promoting the relief line with the Ontario Minister of Transportation’s contact information in order to “Let them know that funding the Relief Line is a PRIORITY.”
“As we saw last week, our colleagues [the GTA mayors] in York region support the province funding the relief line,” Tory told reporters.
“I am not asking for a blank cheque. I am asking for a commitment that the Province of Ontario will provide its fair share of the cost of building the Relief Line – actually building it – so we know we can make our plans certain that the lines will be properly funded. … And so, we look forward to the province saying ‘yes’ to funding the Relief Line because it’s the right thing to do. I know that Premier Kathleen Wynne and her colleagues believe that this is a project that is necessary for the well-being of this city going forward, and we are looking forward to them saying ‘yes’ to the Relief Line, ‘yes’ to being part of it with us, and with the federal government to actually get that line built, so that we can provide much needed relief to the people of this city.”
Hours following the announcement, Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca’s office sent out a statement regarding Mayor Tory’s press conference on the Downtown Relief Line.
“Mayor Tory just can’t take yes for an answer. We are the only government that has come to the table with planning money for the Downtown Relief Line … Despite these investments, we have yet to see the city actually confirm its own capital contributions on these projects … In addition, starting in 2019 we will be increasing transit funding through an enhancement to the existing gas tax program, doubling Toronto’s share from two cents per litre to four cents by 2021,” the statement read.
The statement also included a breakdown of funding between the province, city and federal government, showing an absence of contribution by the city for funding.
In response, the mayor’s office distributed a letter to Andy Byford, CEO of the TTC.
The letter described the need for the Relief Line to address capacity issues and the important work of Automatic Train Control, but also centres on a question: “I am wondering whether there are creative solutions that could be explored, such as ways to have some subway trains begin their journey further down the line, allowing for additional capacity in some of our busier stations… I look forward to hearing about any potential solutions we can help transit riders in Toronto.”
The letter also begins with the mayor addressing the CEO of the TTC on a first name basis.