Scarborough subway critics want Ontario's auditor general to investigate

​Critics of the Scarborough subway project are asking Ontario's auditor general for an investigation into whether or not a full cost-benefit analysis should be done between a subway and the original light rail plan.

Group wants full cost-benefit comparison between subway and former light-rail plan

A small group of demonstrators from the Scarborough Transit Action group rallied outside Lawrence East station last Thursday. The group is concerned about what will happen to commuters who rely on the RT station if the proposed subway plan goes ahead. (John Rieti/CBC)

​Critics of the Scarborough subway project are asking Ontario's auditor general for an investigation into whether or not a full cost-benefit analysis should be done between a subway and the original light-rail plan.

City council voted to forge ahead with the subway, forgoing the option to produce business cases for both, earlier this year. Scarborough representatives from all three levels of government support the plan.

But Moya Beall, a volunteer with Scarborough Transit Action (STA) — an offshoot of TTC Riders, says city council didn't have the evidence it needed to make an informed choice.

"People in Scarborough want an evaluation," Beall told CBC Toronto, after dropping off her complaint at Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk's office near Yonge Street and Dundas Street on Wednesday morning.

Beall says a proper comparison of the transit options to replace the aging Scarborough RT line has never been done, but she's hopeful Lysyk will consider it. 

"All we're asking for is objectivity," she said.

A spokesperson from the auditor general's office didn't rule that out in an email to CBC Toronto, saying: "we will give the request from Scarborough Transit Action serious consideration, as we do all citizen submissions."

STA also calls for review of 2 new rail stations

STA's complaint also calls for Lysyk to look into Metrolinx's approval of the future Kirby GO station, in Vaughan, and the Lawrence East SmartTrack stop, which would eventually replace the Scarborough RT stop.

The group alleges Metrolinx's own business cases found the stops would be expensive and wouldn't attract new riders, but that was over-ruled by politicians.

"A diversion of funds to less-needed stations may result in under-funding and delay of higher-priority stations," the group says in its complaint.

Group making request at Queen's Park

Regarding the subway, STA's complaint warns: "the monumental subway tunneling project will absorb funds that could instead pay for a larger, cost-effective transit network that will attract and serve far more riders."

Last week, STA released the results of a survey its volunteers conducted that found out of some 200 riders, more than 80 per cent didn't know Lawrence East Station wouldn't get a stop on the future subway line. 

However, Mayor John Tory's office stands by the subway, arguing it will drive the development of growth and jobs in Scarborough.