Toronto

TTC fires 2 managers linked to York subway expansion

The TTC has fired two managers linked to the delayed and over-budget expansion of subway service to York University.
The TTC has cut ties with two managers who had been part of the ongoing York-Spadina subway extension. 1:53

The TTC has fired two managers linked to the delayed and over-budget expansion of subway service to York University. 

CEO Andy Byford on Thursday announced in a letter to employees that Sameh Ghaly and Andy Bertolo have left the organization amid a "change of leadership" in the TTC's Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group. 

Bertolo was the chief project manager of the expansion, and worked under Ghaly who headed the EC&E Group. 

According to a report in the Toronto Star, the unfinished 8.6-kilometre subway extension from Downsview Station to York University and beyond is approximately $400 million over budget and possibly two years off-schedule. 

The TTC has recently come under pressure from Mayor John Tory and TTC chairman Josh Colle to rein in spending and get the subway expansion back on track. Colle has disputed the $400 million figure, but recently said the project's actual overrun is not known. 

Tory says he supports Byford's efforts. 

"I've been clear about the need for much stronger culture of accountability at city hall, specifically in the management of major public infrastructure projects," the mayor said in a statement.

"From time to time that will and should mean personnel changes."

The TTC board will meet next week to review a report which will outline options for a revised schedule and budget. That report will be made available to the public on Friday. 

Knee-jerk reaction?

City councillor and board member Joe Mihevc told CBC News he wonders if the firings were a knee-jerk reaction, brought on by the recent heated talk around city hall about the subway expansion. 

He says the TTC needs to develop a deeper understanding of the project's root problems. 

The unfinished 8.6-kilometre subway extension from Downsview Station to York University and beyond is approximately $400-million over budget and possibly two years off-schedule, according to a report in the Toronto Star. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)

"Not necessarily look at personalities, but look at processes and how, in this case, these costs went beyond expectations," Mihevc said. "Those should be rational debates. They shouldn't be politically driven." 

The project has had a number of problems. In August 2014 the TTC filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the contractor overseeing construction of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station, one of the six stations being added to the end of Line 1.

In October 2011, a worker was killed when a drilling rig collapsed at the construction site of York University station.

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