05/16/2013 04:10 EDT | Updated 07/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Hwy 427 extension hinges on budget approval, Wynne says

Construction to extend Highway 427 north through York Region could start as early as 2017 if the provincial budget is passed, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday.

The government's plan is to extend the busy highway in Toronto's west end by 6.6 kilometres, connecting it to Major Mackenzie Drive in Vaughan, Ont.

Currently the major commuter highway ends at Highway 7, just north of Highway 407, and extending it has been on the Liberal’s radar for some time.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa included money for the extension, along with other highway projects, in his budget May 2.

The Highway 427 project would include three new interchanges, nine bridges and protection for a future transitway and transit stations along the west side of the highway.

Wynne said the project would create jobs, and help move goods and people more efficiently across York region.

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But before the spades are in the ground the Liberals still need the support of the Andrea Horwath's New Democrats to pass the budget and avoid triggering an election.

Wynne said on Thursday that she's "optimistic" the budget will pass with the NDP's support and called her meeting with Horwath on Wednesday "a collaborative conversation."

The premier said she and the NDP leader will meet again next week.