10/08/2015 12:34 EDT | Updated 10/08/2016 05:12 EDT

Trudeau Commits To 'Federal Share' Of SmartTrack Plan

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said today his party is "fully committed to the federal share" of SmartTrack, the $8-billion transit plan touted by Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Trudeau made the announcement today at a campaign event in Woodbridge, Ont. Trudeau, whose Liberals are targeting key GTA ridings ahead of the Oct. 19 vote, also pledged to invest in GO Transit. 

Trudeau said the promise to help fund SmartTrack, along with upgrades to the GO Train network, are aimed at easing "unbelievable" congestion on GTA highways.

A key component of Tory's mayoralty campaign last year, SmartTrack would run commuter trains every 15 minutes along existing GO rail corridors to ease congestion on crowded roads and subway lines. The U-shaped line would run into downtown from Mt. Dennis in the northwest, down to Union Station then follow the GO Stouffville line up to Unionville. 

Harper made $2.6-billion commitment in June

In June, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper pledged to put $2.6 billion toward SmartTrack. At the time Tory expressed confidence the city could come up with its share. 

But under Harper's plan the city would  have to apply for the funding — a billion dollars per year starting in 2019 — just like other cities in Canada.

How the city will come up with its portion of the $8 billion price tag remains an open question. During his campaign, Tory touted tax increment financing as an option, in which the government leverages future tax revenue along a transit line to pay for its construction.

Tory praised Trudeau's announcement in a statement issued Thursday. 

"We now have express commitments to fund SmartTrack from both Mr. Trudeau and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government," he said. "SmartTrack will be built."

Tory has said he wants to build 22 SmartTrack stations in seven years.

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