The Government of Canada is committed to supporting efficient transportation to, from and in Canadian cities. To this end, on March 9, 2012, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) announced the start of construction on the TPA’s pedestrian tunnel from the mainland of downtown Toronto to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA).
The Government of Canada recently approved regulatory amendments that were necessary for the pedestrian tunnel project to move ahead. More specifically, the Government of Canada amended the Toronto Port Authority Letters Patent to allow the TPA to proceed with the pedestrian tunnel across the Western Gap of the Toronto Harbour, as well as the Toronto Port Authority Regulations to specifically permit the construction of a pedestrian tunnel.
Once completed, the project will link the BBTCA to the mainland at the foot of Bathurst Street, an area known as Eireann Quay, via an underground and underwater pedestrian tunnel. The pedestrian tunnel will provide passengers and businesses located on or associated with the BBTCA facilities with an additional convenient access point in all weather conditions, resulting in reduced waiting times for the ferry, reduced passenger crowding, and less traffic congestion. The pedestrian tunnel will not change any limitations or restrictions in place related to air operations. Prohibitions on jet aircraft will remain in place.
According to the TPA, the construction of the pedestrian tunnel will take about 25 months, starting in 2012, and is expected to be operational in 2014.
The TPA is entering into an agreement with a private sector consortium, Forum Infrastructure Partners, to design, build, finance, and maintain the pedestrian tunnel connecting the BBTCA to the mainland. The TPA has indicated that costs associated with the pedestrian tunnel will be largely funded through the Airport Improvement Fee.
The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, commonly known as the Toronto Island Airport, is named after Air Marshal Billy Bishop, a Canadian First World War flying ace. As of 2010, it was Canada's 14th busiest airport and Ontario's 3rd busiest in terms of passengers, and the 17th busiest Canadian airport in terms of aircraft movements. In 2011, the airport served more than 1.5 million passengers.