Ontario Construction News staff writer
The provincial government has agreed to upload responsibility for the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway from Toronto, potentially saving the city billions of dollars.
In exchange, Mayor Olivia Chow has agreed not to interfere with the province’s plan to redevelop Ontario Place land.
A new deal announced by Chow and Premier Doug Ford on Monday addresses Toronto’s budget shortfall with up to $1.2 billion over three years.
The agreement includes shifting the cost of maintaining and repairing the two major roadways back to the provincial government. Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Premier Doug Ford said that uploading the Gardiner Expressway and the DVP could provide Toronto $7.6 billion in capital relief.
“These two highways are vital to the success of the province’s economy,” Ford said. “This deal will ensure that these critical transportation assets remain in good condition to keep people and goods living for generations to come.”
Earlier this year, city staff said that $500 million in contracts had already been awarded to rebuild the 1.7-kilometre eastern portion of the Gardiner and an additional $650 million in contracts will be included in capital plans.
The deal also gives the province “authority to advance project approvals for Ontario Place.” Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow confirmed during the news conference that council will be ceding city-owned land to the province for the redevelopment and will stand out of Ford’s way on plans for the area.
“The land belongs to the provincial government and we do not have the authority to stop the development,” Chow told reporters. “The future of Ontario Place, that debate is going to happen here at Queen’s Park, not at the municipal level.”
The new deal will also provide the city with $330 million over three years to operate the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Finch West LRT.
The province will also commit $750 million for 55 new subway trains for Toronto’s Bloor-Danforth Line—although they specified this was conditional on matching federal support. An additional $300 million in one-time funding will also be provided for transit safety projects.
Part of the deal was a pledge from Toronto to build more than 74,000 homes by 2025, with a focus on transit stations.
Details will be set out in the New Deal for Toronto Act, which the government hopes to table at the Legislature soon.