Today, May 17, 2010, Metrolinx CEO Rob Prichard addressed the Toronto Board of Trade with an overview of plans for Transit City projects. The presentation slides are available on the Metrolinx website.
The final transcript version of the accompanying speech is also available online.
Updated May 18 at 6:20pm : An updated version of the Metrolinx plan is now online. This includes more information about the staging and cash flows for each of the five projects, and confirmation that Metrolinx will be ordering 182 LRVs for the four Transit City lines.
Queen’s Park announced the Ontario Budget in March 2010 including a $4-billion cut to the short-term funding for the “Big 5” Metrolinx projects — VIVA BRT, Sheppard East LRT, Eglinton LRT, Finch West LRT, and Scarborough RT to LRT conversion and extension. This triggered a vigorous debate between Provincial and Municipal politicians about the real effect of the cut and the true extent of Provincial commitment to transit funding.
The primary concern at Queen’s Park is constraining the growth of the Provincial debt. In the short term, the Metrolinx projects were seen as easy to shift into future years, beyond the point where debt would be a problem. However, in political circles, deferral can mean outright cancellation especially if the government changes or another portfolio takes precedence for spending.
Only half of Transit City has any funding commitment to date, and now half of that commitment is in question. Where does this leave the plan and, more generally, the growth of a robust transit network in the GTA?