Thursday, March 02, 2017

A one-stop Scarborough subway extension now makes even less sense

The cost of the proposed Scarborough subway extension is now being pegged at $3.35 billion. Given that this estimate has increased from $2 billion just a year ago, one has to assume that the final bill is likely to be closer to $5 billion. And this is for a SINGLE STOP 6km extension to the existing Bloor-Danforth line!
To make matters worse, estimates for ridership of the new line have also been revised downwards. It is now thought that the extension will only serve an additional 2,300 riders, putting a price of about $1.45 million on each new rider. It will also mean that the 17-stop Eglinton East LRT project, which was supposed to go hand in hand with the subway extension, will be short of funds to the tune of about $1.4 billion and may not now go ahead.
The obsession with an expensive subway extension for Scarborough is a hangover from Rob Ford's days, but current Mayor John Tory is doggedly persevering with it, for political reasons that escape me. But what was always a bad decision has now reached the status of farce, especially when one remembers that we once had the option of a seven-stop LRT, which would serve more people than the politically sexier subway option, and which would cost $1.48 billion (fully-funded by the provincial government), an option that could have been pretty much operational by now.
Once again electoral politics gets in the way of common sense.

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