The TTC has released its study into the proposed Downtown Relief Line—a subway line that would take pressure off the Yonge line because Yonge is already at capacity. TTC chief Andy Byford has said this is the top priority. Virtually everyone agrees. Yet there is no plan, as of yet, to put a shovel in the ground on this thing.
The cost for the whole proposed line, as pictured above, is $8.3 billion. The TTC’s phase one—which runs from St. Andrew station in the southwest to Pape station—is $3.2 billion. I don’t think it’s all that great idea to launch the line from Riverdale to the financial district. Politically, at the very least, the phase that runs north into East York up to Flemingdon Park and intersects with the Eglinton LRT coming in from Scarborough should be part of phase one. The cost on that is $5.5 billion.
I’d like to see—though I’m dreaming here—the eastern section continue up to intersect with the Sheppard subway and proposed LRT lines at Don Mills, and the western section continue up north to intersect with the St. Clair ROW at Keele, then on to Weston (meeting the Eglinton LRT again) and then up into Rexdale where it could intersect with the proposed Finch West LRT. What would that, double the cost?
Let’s say a full line stretching that distance would cost $20 billion and would take 20 years to build. That’s a billion dollars a year in tax revenue we’d need. Even if the federal and provincial governments won’t step up and pay their share—and they should—a bold politician could step up going into the next election and propose to raise $1 billion a year in revenue to fund construction of this thing. That’s a lot of money—$400 a year per person in the city or so. But it’s a lot of subway, too.
Anyhow, that’s dreaming. But getting the eastern portion of this done as soon as possible, all the way up to Flemingdon Park, needs to happen as soon as possible. If council’s right wing wants subways, then here’s one they can build, and all the Transit City advocates who have mocked their burial fetish will suddenly be on their side.