The Building Transit Faster Act
The Building Transit Faster Act targets steps in the planning, design and construction process that have unnecessarily delayed major projects in the past. If passed, the legislation would remove roadblocks and give the Province the tools needed for Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario to deliver the following four priority transit projects faster within the committed timeframes:
- Ontario Line Subway with 15 stations, as early as 2027. The 15.5 km Ontario Line will run between Exhibition/Ontario Place through downtown Toronto to the Ontario Science Centre, bringing rapid transit to neighbourhoods such as Liberty Village and Flemingdon Park. It will help address dangerous overcrowding and provide needed relief on the TTC's Line 1 and Bloor-Yonge station.
- Scarborough Subway Extension with three stations, by 2029-30. The nearly 8 km extension of TTC's Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth), from the existing Kennedy Station northeast to McCowan Road/Sheppard Avenue, will improve transit access to the residents of Scarborough.
- Yonge North Subway Extension with approximately five stations, by 2029-30. The 7.4 km extension of TTC's Line 1 (Yonge-University) will connect north from Finch Station to Highway 7, connecting Toronto and Richmond Hill.
- Eglinton Crosstown West Extension with multiple stops along the Eglinton West corridor, by 2030-31. The western extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (future Line 5) will increase connectivity along Eglinton Avenue from the future Mount Dennis station to Renforth Drive. Ultimately, through future phases of this project, the Province is committed to establishing connectivity with Pearson International Airport.
The Act would help get transit built faster by:
- Relocating utilities more efficiently while treating businesses fairly, and ensuring costs are not passed on to consumers.
- Allow for Metrolinx to require a utility company to relocate its infrastructure within a prescribed timeframe. Introduce a clear process for managing disputes and allow Metrolinx to seek compensation from a utility company if timelines are not met.
- This is similar to the process used for highway projects.
- Amendments to the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 would prohibit the Ontario Energy Board from allowing provincially regulated utilities (electricity and natural gas) to pass compensation costs incurred from delays on to ratepayers.
- Ensuring Ontario has easier access to the land required to construct transit projects, while still treating property owners fairly.
- Currently, redundant steps require Ontario to repeatedly demonstrate the need for land related to infrastructure projects one at a time.
- This would remove Hearings of Necessity for any property related to the four priority transit projects and avoid unnecessary delays.
- The province would continue to treat people fairly and compensate people whose properties are required.
- For municipal properties needed, municipalities will be given reasonable time limits for internal review to help keep the process on schedule.
- Ensuring timely access to municipal services and rights-of-way.
- Ontario will continue to work closely with municipalities, including the City of Toronto to negotiate and secure permits.
- In cases where an agreement cannot be reached, the Minister of Transportation could use a new legislative provision to issue an order that outlines the terms and conditions under which Metrolinx could use or modify a municipal road or service, if needed.
- Ontario will remain committed to working in partnership with municipalities and reducing the disruption to local communities as much as possible throughout the construction process.
- Allowing Ontario to inspect and remove physical barriers, such as trees, without permission from property owners but with appropriate notification.
- Anyone entering private property would be required to provide notice, abide by time of day restrictions, and show identification.
- Similar provisions exist for highway projects.
- Ensuring nearby developments or construction projects do not interfere with or delay the four priority subway projects.
- A permit would be required to construct or change any building, structure, road, underground utility infrastructure, as well as to perform any dewatering or excavation near a subway corridor.
- This would apply to new and some existing developments. For existing approved developments that are identified as potential conflicts, there must be at least six months of negotiation before a permit decision can be imposed.
- This would give Ontario the ability to coordinate activities in and around the subway corridors and stations, and manage the timing of construction activities to prioritize the subway projects.