Metrolinx letter to Toronto City Council seeks to clarify Scarborough Subway debate
When Toronto City Council voted to support an extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway in place of the planned Scarborough LRT, its Master Agreement with Metrolinx was called into question.
The ensuing debate became complex. With questions of sunk costs from the Scarborough LRT, which was well into planning and procurement, as well as who would fund the new subway extension and what route it would follow.
The provincial government announced $1.4 billion in funding for the subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre in early September. While the federal government recently announced $660 million for a subway that extends to meet the future Sheppard LRT.
With new funding and new routes. The initial question remained. Who makes the final decision, and who pays for the sunk cost of the Scarborough LRT and renegotiation of the LRV contract with Bombardier.
Metrolinx President and CEO, Bruce McCuaig, clarified in a letter to Toronto City Council that the $85 million spent on the Scarborough LRT would have to be reimbursed by the city, while any additional costs associated with the renegotiation of the Bombardier contract would also have to be covered by City Hall. The final decision regarding the subway proposal would lie with City Council.
The letter further states, “Metrolinx continues to believe that the LRT project, which was to run from Kennedy station to Sheppard Avenue through the Scarborough Town Centre and to be located on an alignment that would be fully separated from roads and traffic, would provide an effective rapid transit solution to the transportation challenges in this area,” but recognizes that all three levels of government have shown support for a subway instead. Furthermore, the subway project would be lead by Toronto and the TTC, meaning Metrolinx would not be responsible for the delivery of the project.
Toronto City Council is set to review the question of the Scarborough subway this month.
Read the full letter from Metrolinx for more details.
Reaction to the various subway proposals has been mixed.
While staunch subway supporters claimed victory, others questioned whether transportation planning was being co-opted for political gain.
- John Lorinc wrote in Spacing, “for the foreseeable future, major transit investment moves in Toronto will be entirely determined by council and its electoral politics.”
- City councillor Josh Matlow called upon fellow city councillors to return the original LRT and “move forward with an evidence-based and fiscally responsible plan that will serve the most residents and priority neighbourhoods.”
- Toronto City councillors representing Scarborough, Glenn De Baeremaeker and Michelle Berardinetti, support the subway funding, saying that residents will “be in close striking distance from a subway stop” and will no longer feel “left out” from the rest of Toronto.
Photo: Loozrboy, via Wikimedia Commons