The Doug Ford government is facing the possibility of having to operate two major transit lines in Toronto if no further funding arrangements can be made.

The suggestion was made in briefing notes presented to new Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria in June when he was assigned the cabinet position.

In the documents, obtained by CTV News Toronto in a freedom of information request, officials suggest that Toronto City Council is considering an “indefinite deferral” of the operation of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (ECLRT) due to the city’s financial challenges.

“If there is not a new intergovernmental funding arrangement for transit, the province might have to consider different delivery options, including assuming operations of the ECLRT,” the documents read.

A similar suggestion was made for the Finch West LRT, with the province acknowledging the city has said it would consider a deferral of operations “pending any new funding arrangement or fiscal framework with the province.”

As part of a 2021 agreement between the city and the province, Toronto is expected to cover operating and maintenance costs for the Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch West LRTs. The province would be responsible for “lifecycle maintenance costs” associated with the project.

Taking on the financial operating costs of these rail lines is a big ask. The TTC budgeted $60 million in operating money for the Eglinton Crosstown this year. With the delay in the line’s opening, the city said in August that it would use the 2023 funding to return TTC bus service to 99 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels.

At the time, Mayor Olivia Chow said she hopes council will find a way to maintain TTC service levels once the LRT is operational and in need of that funding.

It’s unclear when the Eglinton Crosstown will open, with an update expected in the fall of 2023, according to Sarkaria’s transition binder.

According to the TTC's 2023 budget report, it will cost about $106 million to operate both the Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch West LRT.

"Discussions between the province and the city are underway and ongoing," a city spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not specify what kind of financial arrangement would allow the city to take on these operational costs.

Toronto is facing a $1.5 billion deficit, and both Chow and the premier have said the city’s financial situation is not sustainable.

The two governments are working on a “new deal” for ongoing funding, with a working group planning to submit a report on what this could mean by the end of November.

The province has been adamant that no new taxes be adopted. The city has also suggested that uploading the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway is being considered.

In recent weeks, the federal government has also agreed to come to the table.

A spokesperson for the transportation minister's office said the province is "commited to maintaining a strong relationship with municipal partners, including the City of Toronto as we work to deliver the largest transit expansion in Canadian history."

"It is critical that we work together with the city to deliver on priority transit projects like the Finch West and Eglinton Crosstown LRT for the thousands of commuters who will rely on it each and every day," Dakota Brasier said in a statement.

"The working group is looking at solutions that support our shared objective of getting the LRT lines open as soon as possible."