Ongoing delays in getting Toronto's new streetcars delivered could take a $34 million bite out of the TTC's budget.

Today staff will ask the TTC board to approve $34 million to keep the older streetcars running, money that's needed due to ongoing delays getting the new streetcars delivered by Bombardier.

Bombardier promised that 55 new streetcars would be operating in Toronto by the end of 2015. But so far only 16 have been delivered.

To avoid service cutbacks, city staff have recommend old streetcars be kept on the road longer.

But to do that, the streetcars would need new wheels, bearings and track brakes, among other things.

TTC CEO Andy Byford says the unexpected work is expensive, but must be done.

"These vehicles have travelled millions of miles," he told CBC News. "They're wearing out and by now we should have been sending them off to the scrap heap. It's frustrating obviously."

The report recommends $16 million dollars be approved immediately to get the work started.

TTC board has no choice, chair says

TTC board chair Josh Colle says Bombardier's delays leave the board no choice.

"The pressure on our routes is too great in terms of ridership for us to have cars out of commission. I don't think there is an alternative at this point, we have to bridge the gap."

Colle says the city is taking legal action against Bombardier for breaking its contract obligations. Part of the lawsuit will be to recover the millions spent upgrading old streetcars.

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With delays getting the new streetcars delivered, the TTC is being asked to spend money to keep the old ones running. 'It's frustrating obviously,' TTC CEO Andy Byford syas. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

You can read the staff report about the move to repair the old streetcars here: 

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With files from Jamie Strashin, Jasmin Seputis