Four new GO stations announced for east end as part of SmartTrack plan
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, June 22, 2016 7:23AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 22, 2016 5:04PM EDT
Four new GO Train stations have been announced for the city’s east end, bringing the total number of new stops proposed in recent days to eight.
The stations, which are part of Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack plan, will be located near the intersection of Gerrard Street and Carlaw Avenue and the Unilever site on the Lakeshore East Line as well as on Finch Avenue East and Lawrence Avenue East on the Stouffville line.
The announcement of the stations come one day after a similar announcement was held to reveal the location of four new GO stations in the city’s west end.
Two of those stations, located in Liberty Villgae and near the intersection of St. Clair Avenue and Keele Street, were part of SmartTrack while the two other stations at the intersections of Bloor Street and Lansdowne Avenue and Spadina Avenue and Front Street are part of a Metrolinx regional express rail project.
A staff report previously stated that service along the SmartTrack corridors could eventually reach seven to 10 minutes once the tracks are electrified by 2024.
“GO Transit has for a long time provided a fast, convenient and efficient way to travel but mainly for people outside the city. Until yesterday it wasn’t considered a major part of our commuter network inside the City of Toronto but yesterday we began that transformation,” Mayor John Tory told reporters at the future site of the Unilever GO station on Wednesday. “These stations will allow more Toronto residents to take the train inside Toronto and will provide a faster way to travel downtown.”
The new GO train stops will be built and operated by Metrolinx with both the city and the federal government paying a third of the cost.
The city’s share of the project is pegged at $700 million to $1.1 billion; however it remains unclear where that money will come from.
Previously, Tory has said that the city could use tax increment financing to foot the bill.
Tax increment financing refers to when a government borrows money to fund the cost of a project and then pays it back using additional tax revenue generated by higher property values and increased development.
“I am an optimist by nature. I know how much the mayor and members of city council are working as we speak,” Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said when asked whether he was concerned that the city would not come up with the necessary funding, “I remain optimistic that the city will be at the table with their contribution and that we will get on with this.”
Tory previously promised to build SmartTrack within seven years of taking office and on Wednesday he said he remains committed to that timetable.
It remains unknown when construction could start on the new stations.
“We want people riding on those trains as soon as possible,” Tory said.