Province commits $103.5M for all 10 London transit projects
Ontario will contribute $103.5 million to 10 transit infrastructure projects that officials say will bring safer roads, easier commutes and new jobs.
At a news conference on Tuesday morning, Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott announced all 10 projects submitted by the city will be sent up for federal approval.
Of the provincial funding, $75.9 million is being allocated to the three branches of the Bus Rapid Transit Project; the East London Link, Wellington Gateway and Downtown Loop.
The balance will go to;
- the purchase of expansion buses
- installing intelligent traffic signals
- adding multi-use paths for the new Adelaide Street railway underpass
- improving the Oxford Street and Wharncliffe Road intersection
- Dundas Street improvements in Old East Village
- new streetscape and signage improvements for Dundas Place Thames Valley Parkway
- new bus shelters and bus stop lighting
Scott said in a statement, "London is a fast-growing region, and our government is investing in infrastructure that will keep pace and build for the future...These projects will reduce congestion, improve commutes, connect neighbourhoods and businesses, and people to jobs. Our government is investing in what matters most."
The federal government must still review the projects and make final funding decisions, but construction could begin by 2020 once they are approved.
If approved, the combined investment in the 10 projects by the city, province and federal government would total $310 million.
There had been concerns provincial approval would not come before MPs break for the summer at the end of June, meaning a federal decision would have had to wait until after the fall election.
But Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek says, "Certainly I think there is more than enough time for the federal government to make their decision, Treasury Board will still meet over the summer."
However, London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos says work can't even begin on the approval until the province advances London's business cases to the federal government.
"We have yet to receive a submission from the Government of Ontario. We received a letter of intent to move forward with funding, but no submission of business cases for the 10 projects has happened at this point."
The biggest funding concern is for the Wellington Gateway route into the south end. Because the funding request is for more than $50 million - $52.7 million - approval requires an additional step.
Still, Mayor Ed Holder says, "With respect to federal approval, I am quite confident that they have the ability to have this done by the end of summer. Treasury Board federally will still be meeting over the next few weeks...I look forward to an approval over the next couple of weeks."
Asked about the mayor's hopes, Fragiskatos says, "It's good to be ambitious, but I'm sure the mayor would agree that it's important to carry out a diligent serious review...I cannot promise that to you or the city, it could very well be in 2020."
In 2018, London Transit moved more than 23 million passengers, and the city has the fifth busiest transit system in Ontario.