June 26, 2009

Toronto transit users will soon be riding the rails in new Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) that will be manufactured in Ontario following today’s City Council approval of the funds necessary to complete the purchase.

In a Special Meeting today City Council approved the deferral of $417 million in the TTC capital budget so the TTC can complete the purchase of 204 LRVs from Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc. to replace its aging streetcar fleet. The Bombardier purchase price was guaranteed until June 27, 2009.

“This purchase will allow the TTC to replace its aging streetcar fleet with modern light rail vehicles that can carry more riders,” said Mayor Miller. “This is a made-in-Ontario solution that will generate thousands of desperately needed manufacturing jobs, provide a huge infusion into the economy and generate millions in tax revenues to the provincial and federal governments.

The City of Toronto has committed $834 million towards the $1.2 billion costs of the 204 LRVs.

Council’s approval of funding, today, allows the TTC to place the streetcar order with Bombardier. The TTC will defer certain capital projects between 2012 and 2018 totalling $417 million. That money will be applied to the streetcar purchase. While those capital projects are important, acquiring new streetcars for Toronto is a priority. These changes to the TTC’s capital budget will not impact service or fares.

The Province of Ontario committed $417 million to the purchase in a June 19, 2009 announcement with Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor David Miller. The LRVs will be manufactured in Thunder Bay, providing stimulus to the provincial economy.

At its December 2008 meeting City Council voted unanimously to approve the TTC capital plan that included the LRV purchase; and to request the federal government provide 1/3 of the funding for the LRV purchase. Today’s Special Meeting was necessary because the City’s request for one-third federal funding was recently declined by Ottawa.

The TTC purchased 248 streetcars in the 1970s and 1980s, and these vehicles now need to be replaced, as the aging fleets are nearing the end of their useful lives. They are not accessible, their reliability is steadily declining, and maintenance costs continue to rise. The new streetcars will be low-floor, quieter, have features such as air conditioning for greater customer comfort, and be able to carry almost twice as many people as the TTC’s current streetcars do. The new vehicles will help address crowding on the TTC’s streetcar routes, and accommodate ridership growth. The new vehicles will also have leading-edge technology for better reliability and performance.
 
The delivery plan for the 204 streetcars calls for a prototype vehicle to be delivered to the TTC in 2011. LRVs for passenger service will begin to arrive in late 2011, early 2012. All 204 cars will be delivered by 2018.

The City of Toronto and the TTC look forward to meeting the transit needs of the people of Toronto with new streetcars. The city has a long and proud history of light rail, and many Torontonians provided input to the TTC two years ago at the CNE and through the website, mynewstreetcar.ca.

These new streetcars will be the fourth generation of streetcar built for the TTC in the last 88 years, following the Peter Witt car (1921-1963), the Presidents’ Conference Committee car (PCC, 1938-1995) and the CLRV and ALRV (Canadian/Articulated Light Rail Vehicle, 1978-present and 1987-present, respectively).

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