Councillor Josh Matlow

CTV News: Estimated cost of Scarborough subway extension rises by nearly $1B

June 17, 2016

Chris Fox

CTV News

The Scarborough subway extension will cost $900 million more than initially thought, Mayor John Tory has confirmed.

The cost of the one-stop extension of Line 2 from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Town Centre was initially pegged at $2 billion, however on Friday the mayor told reporters that further analysis by city staff has revealed the price tag to be $2.9 billion.

The increase in budget, Tory said, is due to engineering and planning work that has recently been conducted.

Previously the city had based its estimate on a ballpark figure for a three-stop subway extension that was scrapped back in January.

“The original plan for a three-stop subway extension was approved by city council without the support of any planning or design work. In fact it was based on a sketch on a piece of paper given to the TTC,” Tory said.

Tory said the engineering work conducted by the TTC has determined that the initial three-stop subway plan would have actually cost $4.3 billion due to challenges presented by “terrain and water table” and that the paired down one-stop version will cost $2.9 billion.

Nonetheless, Tory said he remains fully committed to the Scarborough subway, and pledged to “get on with” building it.

“We are going to work with experts, our own staff and the private sector to try to contain these numbers and get them down but the project is going to proceed,” Tory promised. “We have to stop the endless debating.”

LRT also over budget

When the three-stop Scarborough subway extension was reduced to one-stop, Tory promised to use the $1 billion in savings to also construct a 17-stop light rail transit line to the University of Toronto Scarborough campus.

The cost of that project, however, has also risen with staff now pegging it at $1.6 billion.

Tory did promise to move ahead with both projects on Friday but provided little information on how the city would pay for them.

The city has set aside $3.5 billion for Scarborough transit projects, about $1 billion short of the cost of building both the LRT and subway extension using the latest estimates.

“We will go to work on both sets of numbers and we will deal with the financing of whatever may be left but the bottom line is that you have to have the determination to move forward with these projects and to build transit and we do,” Tory said.

The city is splitting the cost of the Scarborough subway with the provincial and federal governments. Its share of the project is being paid for with a 30-year property tax levy.

Coun. Josh Matlow called the Scarborough subway project is a ‘waste of money’ and said council should instead return to the original LRT plan.

“It is time for city council to get real — instead of trying to get votes (they should) put people before politics,” Matlow told CTV Toronto. “I believe we should move forward with the LRT plan for Scarborough and stop sinking hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars into Toronto’s longest tunnel.”

With files from Austin Delaney.

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