John Tory touted his work on advancing the relief subway line and named a council candidate in Beaches East-York as his official “champion” for the project as he campaigned outside of a busy Main Station on Friday morning.

TTC staff have long identified the relief subway as the city’s biggest transit priority due to the overcrowding that exists at Yonge-Bloor station and Tory told reporters on Friday the estimated $6.8 billion project needs to be up and running “as soon as we can possibly get it.”

He said that if re-elected on Oct. 22, he will continue to work on advancing the project and would “rely on” former city planner Brad Bradford to be his champion in event that he is elected in Beaches-East York. The ward is one of only two in the city in which an incumbent is not running, though a previous poll by Mainstreet Research did suggest that former NDP Matthew Kellaway had an edge in the race.

“The relief line is something we have to keep pushing, forward and pushing forward. There has been more done on that project under my leadership as mayor than ever before. It has been talked about for 30 years but we now have people that have done the route, they are taking the soil samples and they are notifying property owners that will be affected. The work is underway to get that relief line built,” Tory said on Friday. “We need it in the city, the people of Beaches-East York need it and Brad Bradford is going to be somebody that I am going to rely on to be its champion.”

City council has previously approved an alignment for the line that would see it travel along Queen Street and Eastern Avenue before turning north at Carlaw Avenue and connecting with Line 2 on Danforth Avenue.

A series of three public consultations on the route were also held in the spring, though construction on the project is likely still years away from getting underway.

Tory told reporters that the challenge with the relief line and building transit in general in Toronto is the desire to “rebate, re-decide, restudy and reconsider.”

“We now have an approved transit plan, we have the support of the other governments to move forward with projects and at the top of the list is the relief line,” he said.

Opposing mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat, who was formerly the chief city planner, said the relief line is an example of Tory’s inability to “get his own priorities built.”

“Pawning off responsibility for one of the most important transit projects in this city, to an un-elected candidate, and giving them a made-up title will not get anyone home or to work any faster,” she said in a statement.

“The mayor should be the champion for the relief line and all transit in this city.”

Tory has previous secured $205 million from other levels of government for planning work related to the relief subway.

Though the cost of the capital cost of the project remains unfunded the federal government has said that it will provide $4.8 billion in transit funding to the city over the next decade, money that the previous provincial government promised to match.