Toronto-York Spadina subway extension $400M over budget

The TTC needs $400 million more to cover the costs of claims from contractors on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE), CEO Andy Byford said today.

TTC revealed 8.6-kilometre extension won’t be ready until late 2017 last year

The Spadina subway extension is already over budget and behind schedule. Now, sources tell CBC News, the cost overrun is $400 million. (TTC)

The TTC needs $400 million more to cover contractors' claims on the troubled Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE), CEO Andy Byford said today. 

"We need more money to deal with those claims that we believe have merit," Byford said Friday while touring reporters through the construction site that will become York University station. 

The TYSSE will extend the western portion of Line 1 by 8.6 kilometres and add six stations from Downsview Station north, through York University, and into Vaughan. Although now more than 80 per cent complete, Byford said the project isn't expected to be finished until late 2017 at the earliest.

Byford conceded that the project has been plagued by problems, from an 18-month delay in its start date, to frequently shifting design plans for stations. Many of the claims contractors have made, or are expected to make, against the TTC are related to those delays. Byford said some of the claims have merit and will have to be paid, others the TTC is likely to contest and may wind up being settled by litigation.

Byford said $400 million is an estimate on the TTC's maximum exposure to the claims. He's hoping it will be less.   

This is the latest snag in what has been a problem-plagued project. In March the TTC announced the project was at least $150 million over budget as Byford undertook "a complete reset." Two managers were fired and a new design team was brought in.

A report released by the TTC Friday lays out some of the problems, and makes a case for why the TTC needs more money to cover the contractors' claims. 

"The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) saw start-up delays, poor performance by some contractors, and scope and design changes, which were not factored into either the schedule or the project budget at the time," it reads. 

The report points to other problems that have affected the cost and schedule of the project, including the death of a worker at the York station site in 2011 and harsh winter weather.

Municipalities to pay for overrun

The new funding request means the project's overall budget — originally pegged at $2.6 billion — has now ballooned to just under $3.2 billion.

That cost has been shared by the federal and provincial governments and the municipalities of Toronto and York. However the extra $400 million will be shared by the two municipalities served by the new line: Toronto ($240 million) and York ($160 million). 

Byford said he's already had discussions with the city manager about how Toronto will pay for the overrun. 

Today's report lists the completion rates for each of the six new stations. All are more than 80 per cent complete, with the exception of the York University station, which is listed as only 63 per cent complete. 

Byford said despite the project's problems, the TYSSE will provide an essential link between Toronto and the fast-growing York region.

"It will be spectacular," he said. "It will be something that Toronto and York Region can be proud of." 

Byford also added the TTC is currently writing a "lessons learned" paper about the problems associated with the project, with the hope of avoiding similar issues during future developments.

With files from Jamie Strashin


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