Councillor Josh Matlow

Council Supports Scarborough Subway Even After SRT Shutdown Revealed

Due to politics coming before people, Scarborough residents will be left on long bus rides for years to come.

Even today, the 7-stop Scarborough LRT would provide more service, for fewer dollars, and can be up and running sooner. It’s finally time for Council to make the right decision to serve Scarborough residents.

The LRT was approved, funded, and shovel-ready when it was cancelled in 2013 for a subway that was designed on the back of a napkin. Since that time there have been many different plans and promises to deliver a subway but Scarborough residents are no closer to being delivered transit than they were 7 years ago. The Environmental Assessment for the 3-stop subway has not been completed and the province has yet to fully fund the project.

This month saw the worst outcome for Scarborough transit users as it was announced that the SRT will have to be shut down prior to the subway being built. The false promise of subways, subways, subways has been broken by the reality of buses.

The unfortunate revelation that Scarborough residents will be left on the bus for a number of years while waiting for a subway to open in 2030 at the earliest removes one of the central arguments for pro-subway proponents. It was argued that the subway was a better option as the SRT would be able to continue operating during construction, while LRT construction would require the line to shut down as they operate within the same, traffic-separated, corridor. That argument no longer stands.

Further, the LRT could be constructed faster given that the LRT has a completed EA, and would not require tunnelling. Conservative construction timelines provided by the TTC in 2016 estimated that the LRT would take 3.5-5 years to build.

It was also announced this month that the costs had ballooned for the Eglinton East LRT to Malvern to over $4 billion- putting it out of reach for the City to construct in the near term.

That’s why, even in the face of this stark reality, I’m disappointed to report that my motion failed that requested the Province of Ontario to build more transit sooner by moving forward now with the 7-stop LRT, through Scarborough Town Centre to Sheppard, and use the funds saved by switching from the subway to support the Eglinton East LRT to Malvern to ensure that rapid transit is provided to Scarborough.

To read more about this issue, please see this article: Scarborough RT will shut down before subway is finished, mayor says | The Star

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