WATCH: Proposal could open relief subway line two years early

The City of Toronto and TTC have devised a plan the mayor says will have subway riders gliding on the long-promised relief line in 2029, two years earlier than planned.

The plan would add $325 million to the TTC's capital budget over the next two years, including $162 million this year. Relief line project director Malcolm MacKay explains that this money doesn't represent an extra overall cost, but money the city had not intended to spend so soon.

Proposals to scrounge up the cash are expected to be laid out in the TTC's proposed budget to be released later Thursday or Friday.

The 7 km subway line would link the Yonge-University-Spadina line (Line 1) and the Bloor-Danforth line (Line 2) with tunnels under streets including Pape, Queen, Carlaw, and Richmond. The project, estimated to cost about $7 billion, is not yet funded.

A sped-up relief line timetable would see planners multi-task rather than knock one thing off a to-do list at a time. The city would accelerate design work, land acquisitions, efforts to move underground utilities and getting the equipment needed to carve out the subway tunnel.

You could see tangible work on the relief line as early as next year.

MacKay expects that a giant pit for the tunnel-boring machine will be dug near Broadview station in 2020. He says dealing re-locating utilities in front of Nathan Phillips Square will also be a priority next year.

The revised timeline comes as Toronto officials are in talks to have the province take control of the city's subway system. It's not clear what impact an upload would have on the relief line.