Councillor Josh Matlow

Scarborough rapid transit: The real costs of changing tracks now

Last week Metrolinx asked the City of Toronto to reaffirm its commitment to the Master Agreement signed on November 29, 2012 between Metrolinx, the City of Toronto and the TTC with regard to the Scarborough RT line, the Eglinton Crosstown, the Sheppard East line and the Finch West line. This Master Agreement has been supported by Toronto City Council. We are unfortunately revisiting this issue yet again because Council signalled that it would support converting the Scarborough SRT to a subway even though the current plan is to serve that area with rapid transit in a completely grade-separated right-of-way similar to the Allen Rd. open cut which serves a portion of the Yonge-University-Spadina line.


As outlined below, it is projected that it will cost at least $1 billion for this needless conversion with no revenue source identified. I was proud to work with my colleagues to challenge the mayor’s unfunded subway plan that was based on politics, rather than sound transit planning. I am very disappointed that some of those very same councillors seem to be moving in the same direction. The debate is not between whether Scarborough will get a subway or not. It’s about whether Metrolinx will have Toronto’s support to finally build new, grade-separated, rapid transit or leave Scarborough residents waiting for the bus.


An SRT conversion to a subway, rather than LRT, is clearly fiscally irresponsible. The City of Toronto would end up paying the bill. In fact, it would be many times more costly than the recent $150 million cut the Mayor is suggesting will cause major budget cuts. Where is the money going to come from? Are we willing to deny transit to Finch West? Delay the Downtown Relief Subway Line and current state of good repair priorities? Cut more funds from parks, childcare, the Gardiner or affordable housing? Council already rejected supporting new transit revenue tools. In reality, there is no funding plan for this latest proposal to change tracks.


Let’s stick to the plan we have and finally get it done.


Please see this preliminary fact sheet regarding the potential conversion of the Scarborough SRT to a subway:


SRT Stats

  • The new LRT will be in a completely grade-separated right-of-way. No traffic lights. No cross streets. Widely spaced stations.
  • At an average of 36km per hour It will run faster than the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines which average 32km per hour
  • The line will have a capacity to carry 16,000 passengers per hour.
  • It is anticipated that by 2031 the LRT would carry 8,000 passengers per hour leaving it enough capacity to serve the area for many decades to come- the extra capacity offered by a subway won’t come close to being needed
  • The LRT would be over two kilometres longer than the subway, have four more stations and is within walking distance to over 20,000 more people- with the possibility to extend the line into Malvern (Centennial College students would not have a stop if the SRT is converted to a subway rather than an LRT)



Cost Concerns

  • The $500 million cost proponents have cited to convert the SRT to a subway is false
  • As TTC CEO Andy Byford confirmed at Council in May, the cost of the SRT is $1.8 billion
  • The cost of the subway was estimated in a January TTC report (pg 16) at $2.8 billion
  • There is already a $1 billion difference before factoring:
  • Construction of new terminus for Eglinton Crosstown at Kennedy that was to be part of the Scarborough RT will be $320 million
  • $85 million in sunk engineering and design costs
  • Property acquisition
  • Cancellation of Bombadier contract
  • Maintaining the Scarborough RT
  • New design work
  • Cost efficiencies from using the same technology as on Sheppard and Eglinton
  • Significant changes to maintenance and storage facility on Conlins Rd. which has almost finished RFP process
  • Possible new Environmental Assessment
  • Metrolinx is estimating that the costs of these unknowns would total at least $425 million and likely much more



  • The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Maintenance and Servicing Yard closed on May 7th and Metrolinx, with Infrastructure Ontario, is currently in the process of evaluating the bid proposals.
  • The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Eglinton Crosstown-Scarborough LRT project closed on May 14


Councillor Josh Matlow

Ward 22, St. Paul’s

City of Toronto

Tel: (416) 338-5252

Fax: (416) 392-0124

100 Queen St. W Suite A17

Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2


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