Eglinton LRT unlikely to arrive by 2020, report says
A TTC report warns it’s unlikely the Eglinton-Crosstown light rail line originally slated for completion by 2020 will carry its first passenger before 2022.
The report, which will be presented at Wednesday’s TTC meeting, casts doubt over whether the Eglinton line can be completed on time if the public-private funding model is used.
The report is part of an update the TTC is expected to provide on Eglinton Crosstown and three other light-rail lines part of an extensive transit expansion: Finch West, Sheppard East and the Scarborough RT.
At the heart of the report are questions over roles and responsibilities of the TTC, which will operate the new lines, and Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario, the two provincial bodies responsible for building them. The province is picking up the tab for the entire $8.4 billion transit expansion.
Drawing on input from a group of U.S. transit experts, the TTC report warns that using a public-private funding model, particularly along the Eglinton line, is likely to lead to problems and delays on the project.
"The Metrolinx schedule for Eglinton Crosstown LRT is considered by the TTC … to be extremely challenging and that by necessity it increases the risk of disproportionate disruption to communities," the report reads.
Consultation process questioned
The report also warns it’s uncertain that private contractors involved in the project will follow the TTC’s model of public consultation.
"If TTC does not have responsibility for or control over the construction of the projects, it cannot realistically conduct effective community relations," the report reads.
"Under the TTC project delivery approach, the public would be informed and consulted at each step of the design and construction process."
Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig told CBC News on Tuesday the TTC will play a prominent role in the project, for example in overseeing the design of stations that intersect with existing TTC lines.
McCuaig also said he’s confident the project will achieve its scheduled completion date.
"We believe that 2020 is still an achievable schedule, we recognize that it's a tight schedule," he said.
A source told CBC News that Mayor Rob Ford is confident that Metrolinx can get the Eglinton line built on time.
With files from CBC's Jamie Strashin