News / Toronto

Previous Scarborough subway price tag not honest, says John Tory

Mayor Tory, who originally promised a three-stop Scarborough subway extension in the 2014 election, urged critics not to become fixated on the number of stops.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has urged critics not to become fixated on the number of subway stops on the Scarborough extension.

Torstar News Service

Toronto Mayor John Tory has urged critics not to become fixated on the number of subway stops on the Scarborough extension.

Mayor John Tory is defending the rising cost of the $3.2 billion, one-stop Scarborough subway, saying previous figures were not “honest,” but insisting the controversial project must proceed regardless.

“The change that has taken place in price has only to do with the fact that the initial price was not one that was carefully thought through,” Tory said Monday after a meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“Now we’re being honest with people and straightforward about what the cost is going to be,” Tory added after Wynne also said the subway extension should go through.

An updated estimate has left the project from Kennedy station to Scarborough Town Centre with a $1.3 billion shortfall, prompting concerns from a growing number of city councillors with a crucial council meeting looming next month.

Wynne, who must call a byelection in Scarborough-Rouge River in the coming weeks to fill the vacancy created by the abrupt resignation of her former MPP Bas Balkissoon in March, said the subway extension should go forward in an “expeditious way.”

“We want to move ahead and get those projects built because the more quickly we can do that the better off the economic health of the region is going to be,” she told reporters at Queen’s Park.

“I have always deferred to city council in terms of the plans and I will say, though, the more often we change direction, the more often we scrap a plan and start all over again, the more expensive that is and the more time it costs.”

Tory said Scarborough has been shortchanged on the subway front and its growth has lagged because the underground line does not extend to Scarborough Town Centre.

“It is an investment no one will question 25 years from now because they will say this was the right thing to do to extend transit into the east part of the city, connect that part of the city up, stimulate jobs and investment there,” he added.

The mayor, who originally promised a three-stop Scarborough subway extension in the 2014 election, urged critics not to become fixated on the number of subway stops.

“What this is, is a significant extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line into an underserved part of the city that has been underdeveloped in terms of jobs and investment because it does not have adequate transit service,” he said.

“To sort of divide it down based on how many stops is not the right way to look at this. It is something that has been called for and has been contemplated since 1968.”

Critics argue a better option is a previously approved, seven-stop light rail transit line that would connect the Scarborough Town Centre to the subway system for a $1.48 billion price tag that would be footed in whole by the province.

That would free up more cash to build a second LRT line with as many as 17 stops along Eglinton Ave. East to the University of Toronto’s campus in Scarborough.

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