While this is a fantastic plan, my main concern coincides with that of Mike in To in that what happens when Toronto's growth warrants the need for a subway line instead of these LRT lines?
Obviously, there are only certain lines that could eventually come across this issue, but I would hate to see so much spent on lines that may need to replaced with subways in X years due to their own success.
I also think that we need some form of heavy rail to the airport, which I don't see the Eglinton line satisfying. As a tourist, I would hate to get out at an airport that is miles from the city and have to endure a lengthy LRT ride just to get to a subway that will take me where I need to go. It's really no different than the current situation tourists face with the 192 Rocket. For an airport that handles 30 million passengers (and growing), it surely warrants some form of heavy rail link to the subway network.
(sorry if this isn't the place to discuss this, but more so the place to discuss TC's actual progress. Just felt the need to reply to the above)
The Eglinton tunnel and stations will be design that the LRT can be upgraded to a subway at a later day.
How can you justify a heavy rail link to the airport when there will be less than 25,000 riders using it daily to the city core when the airport is build out to handle 50 million passengers a year? Only 17% head toward the city core. An LRT line can handle up to 100,000 riders a Day.
I know for a fact before the election, MTO wanted something better than the Blue22 to service all of Toronto as that is where the real riders numbers are, not the core.
How Sheppard LRT will connect with the subway is unknown at this time, but it going to be costly. I still say build the subway over to Victoria as plan as this would be a cheaper connection point. Getting over or under the 404 is where the real cost of the extension going to be. I can see a tunnel under the 404 and surfacing on the east side and been built for the subway extension at a later date.
You build an extension to the current Don Mill station by extending the platform east to house 2 car LRT train. The track wall would stay in place as a safety barrier between the 2 system that can be remove at a later date when the line is upgrade.
Sheppard does not have the numbers to support a subway east at this time let alone 20 years from now. Going to STC is a waste of money and needs to stay on Sheppard.
As for putting a carhouse at Kodak, that is a good location as it can service Jane/Finch/StClair/Eglinton lines.
At the rate the City is building the St Clair ROW (under city control with TTC responsible for putting tracks down only) it will be luckily to see the rest of the ROW built to Jane by 2012. The EA for Gunns to Jane has been ready to go for 2 years, but with all the problems up there, TTC decided it was not the right time to move forward on it. Most likely it will surface this year and again manpower shortage to do it by TTC staff. Then there is still the issue of building the Dundas line north of Bloor to connect with St Clair as this will require a full EA since the original tracks have been removed when the road was rebuilt some years ago. If the Tracks were still there, then all TTC had to do is rebuild the track and worry about the connection between Dundas and St Clair.
The GTTA AFP (alternative financing program) works basically like this:
Government hires a private company to design and build the line. When the construction is done, the project is handed over to the government and only then does the government starts paying the company.
So while it is a P3, it's not the evil kind of P3. Its more like how you would have your house built and paid for. The upside is that experts who specialize in designing and building transit projects doing all the gruntwork. This means it can be done faster. However, you lose some control, as the city is only a supervisor. Also, as I said before, it's a type of P3 and people in Ontario tend to freak out when they hear "P3."
I have no problem with this as this is the way to go as well getting fix price to prevent cost over runs. Some of the cost over runs will be built into that fix cost in the first place. The faster the P3 complete the project, faster they get their money. If they do it right, they can make a good profit.
My issue is the running the line by P3 and I can see this happening for the Eglinton line. If the P3 is to operate the line, it has to be setup in a way that the riders are not hoses like the 407 drivers as well maintaining the same seamless transfers and cost of rest of the system. This means the Government is on the hook for all extra cost that has to go to the shareholders of the P3 operating it as the P3 are in the business of making a profit.
Based on TTC track record, this P3 is the way to go for construction and the same applies to the City.
You should try getting from Calgary Airport to the City core let alone trying to get to Parkland in the south end of the city by transit. You need to drive to it. It takes me 1.5 hrs to get to the airport in Mississauga by MT that can be done in 20 minutes by car.
Most of TC is set in stone with more to be added to it.