The provincial government is moving forward with the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, as the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to advance tunnelling work is planned for tomorrow.

Premier Doug Ford shared the news on Wednesday, alongside Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA). The project is part of the largest subway expansion in Canadian history, and aims to free up road-space from vehicles while increasing the speed with which riders can travel from point A to B.

"Today marks another step forward in delivering modern underground rapid transit to connect people from across Toronto and Mississauga to one of the country's largest employment centres," said Ford. "Working with our partners, we will reduce travel times for riders and get more vehicles off our roads, so people can spend more time with their families."

Teams selected from the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process will be invited on August 20 to respond to an RFP that details plans for design and delivery of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension's tunnelling work.

Upon evaluating the received proposals, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx expect to award the tunnelling contract in mid-2021. Tunnelling will begin first, followed by separate contracts for the balance of the work, to expedite the project.

READ: Completion Date For Eglinton Crosstown LRT Pushed Back

"We are making smart, long-term transit investments to address congestion, and give the people of Etobicoke, Mississauga, and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area more options to get where they need to be," said Mulroney. "Our government is committed to ensuring that our vital transit projects empower people and provide additional benefits for the communities in which they are being built."

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT, from which the Extension will span, was originally slated to be finished in September 2021. However, in February, the completion date was pushed back until "well into" 2022. By the time the delayed date was announced, 140 businesses had already closed on Eglinton Avenue West due to the impacts of prolonged construction.

Also in February, Metrolinx reported that according to two prepared business cases, both the Eglinton West and Scarborough subway extensions -- the latter of which the province just announced will roll forward -- have costs that significantly outweigh their benefits.

"Today's announcement gets us one step closer to closing the transit gap along the Eglinton corridor and to connecting communities and families to urban growth centres and employment hubs in Toronto and Mississauga," Surma said. "But we can't build projects of this magnitude alone. We need the federal government to come to the table and fund at least 40 per cent of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension and our other three nationally significant subway projects."

The province's new transporation vision was first announced in April of last year. Encompassing both the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension and the Scarborough Subway Extension, the vision also includes the all-new Ontario Line and Yonge North Subway Extention, with a preliminary estimated cost of $28.5 billion.

Planning is underway for all four priority projects.