Toronto Politicians Fear Scarborough Subway Costs

As expected, the costs for the Scarborough subway, the subway that is replacing the Scarborough ICTS Rapid Transit line, is escalating. Toronto’s ICTSAi?? or locally called SRTAi?? is a very close cousin to Vancouver’s ALRT/ART system, which we collectively named SkyTrain.

What should interest Metro Vancouver residents is the final cost of the 6.4 km Scarborough subway in 2018 dollars, because the proposed Broadway SkyTrain subway is about the same length.

While TransLink has budgeted the subway at $2 billion in 2015 dollars ($2.1 billion in 2017 dollars), independent estimates for the subway project, put the cost in excess of $3 billion, with one estimate as high as $4 billion!

It is quite possible that civic politicians in Metro Vancouver, like their brethren in Toronto, will postpone the final cost estimates after the next round of civic elections.

Updated Scarborough subway costs won’t be published until after 2018 election

Cost estimate expected to be ready in 2018 but public report planned for the first quarter of 2019.

By Jennifer PagliaroCity Hall reporter
Wed., Nov. 22, 2017

Senior city officials will know the updated cost of the Scarborough subway in 2018.

Exactly when that estimate will be ready is still unclear. But the Star has confirmed the public wonai??i??t be told until the first quarter of 2019, when a staff report to council is expected ai??i?? well after the next municipal election.

ai???I donai??i??t see why the government of the City of Toronto would sit on information for three quarters of the year and not make it available to Torontonians as they go to polls,ai??? said Councillor Gord Perks, who has been critical of the subway plan.

With only very preliminary design done, the current estimate for a single-stop subway extension of the Bloor-Danforth line to the Scarborough Town Centre is $3.35 billion. That number comes with a very wide margin of error and does not include the costs necessary to finance a large infrastructure project.

The last time there was a cost update, the price of the subway increased by $1 billion.

As he announced his resignation Tuesday, outgoing TTC CEO Andy Byford said that if costs of the subway rise ai???way beyondai??? todayai??i??s estimate the project ai???will need to be

The TTC earlier confirmed to the Star the subway will be at 30 per cent design by ai???

But in email Wednesday, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross clarified that the work will happen in phases and that an actual cost estimate is not expected to be ready until ai???late

Council was told in March that ai???city and TTC staff plan to report at the next key decision milestone for this project in late 2018ai??? with a cost update, once the subway has advanced to 30 per cent design, according to a staff report.

But a change in that reporting date is buried in an attachment to a new, unrelated report from staff released on Tuesday about the mayorai??i??s ai???SmartTrackai??? transit plan.

A letter from city manager Peter Wallace to the head of the provincial transit agency Metrolinx dated Nov. 20 outlines the cityai??i??s position on a regional transportation plan being drafted by the agency. At the end is a chart updating the status of the cityai??i??s priority transit projects.

The chart notes that the TTC is ai???currently advancing both tunnel and station design work from 10 per cent to 30 per centai??? with ai???expected completion end of It notes the ai???next milestoneai??? is a report to council on the updated cost estimates in ai???Q1

City spokesperson Wynna Brown told the Star that while an updated cost estimate is expected ai???Q3/Q4 2018ai??? there is no council meeting until January 2019 ai???so the first opportunity to report out is Q1

The last council meeting where city business can be dealt with next year is scheduled from July 23 to 25.

The nomination period for the election runs from May 1 to July 27 next year. Election day is Oct. 22.

Last month, council debated the schedule of meetings for 2018.

Though some councillors requested there be a meeting at the end of August in the election year, which is typical, others sided with the staff-recommended scheduling that ended all meetings in July.

ai???I donai??i??t think we should be meeting in the month of August while we are at the same time campaigning,ai??? said Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, who moved to have no meetings after the summer break.

Perks, at the time, objected, telling his colleagues: ai???Weai??i??re elected for a four-year term, not a three-and-a-half year

Council voted 22 to 17 to end meetings in July. Mayor John Tory was absent for the vote.

The Star asked Toryai??i??s office for comment on whether the mayor thought it was reasonable to not inform the public of the cost until after the election and if he would work to ensure that update was provided.

In a short statement, Toryai??i??s spokesperson Don Peat wrote: ai???The timing of the release of that information will be up to city

Council still has to vote on whether to proceed with construction of the subway once the costs are updated.

With files from Ben Spurr

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