Transit City cancellation to cost $65M

Cancelling Transit City in favour of Mayor Rob Ford's subway-focused plan will cost $65 million, TTC general manager Gary Webster says.
Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Coun. Doug Ford believe bringing more subways to Toronto is worth the cancellation costs of Transit City. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Cancelling Transit City in favour of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's subway-focused plan will cost $65 million, TTC general manager Gary Webster says.

The Toronto Transit Commission's chief used the figure — which is $16 million more than the previous number cited — during the city's budget committee meeting on Tuesday.

Bruce McCuaig, CEO of the regional transportation agency Metrolinx, said in March the city would be liable for about $49 million in penalties, but said that number was likely to rise.

The province announced earlier this year that the province would support an Eglinton light rail line underground, effectively killing former mayor David Miller's Transit City plan.

When he took office last December, Ford said he would scrap Transit City because it would run at street-level and obstruct traffic.

Coun. Adam Vaughan, a frequent Ford critic, said he didn't understand the mayor's thinking, especially given the 2012 spending cuts that council has been debating.

"We turn around to the children and say, 'Sorry, you're not going to get rec programs, you're not going to get a breakfast program, the library won't be open necessarily when you go to use it,' " he said. "And yet the mayor's priority is to spend $65 million on a handshake with no input from any staff or any of the other councillors. $65 million? Just to cancel stuff?" 

Council Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, countered that Torontonians want subways and the cancellation fees are worth the cost.

One change in the mayor's plan replaces a $950-million light rail extension on Sheppard that would have been built eastward from Don Mills station with a subway extension pegged at $4.2 billion.

  New transit plan ($12.4B total, $8.2B committed by province) First stage of Transit City plan ($8.15B committed by province)
Eglinton 33 km or LRT, fully underground ($8.2B, all from the province) 11.5-km LRT stretch underground, the rest at-grade ($4.15B)
Sheppard 13 km of subway ($4.2B, not yet secured) 14 km of LRT ($950M)
Finch Proposal to enhance bus service, with a possible rapid transit upgrade later (Cost: Unknown) 17 km of LRT ($1.2B)
Scarborough 12 km of light rail to replace RT to Scarborough Town Centre (Cost: Included in Eglinton plan) 12 km of new light rail to replace existing system ($1.4B)