01/25/2012 04:43 EST | Updated 03/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Eglinton LRT change needs 'formal proposal'

Premier Dalton McGuinty says it would take a "formal proposal" by the city for the province to consider a change in plans for the Eglinton light-rail transit line.

The province, following Mayor Rob Ford's wishes, has agreed to spend $8 billion to bury the line along Eglinton Avenue and construction is already underway.

But Coun. Karen Stintz, the TTC chair, wants to see part of the line above ground — a move that would save $1 billion. That money could be used to improve service on Finch Avenue and kick start the Sheppard subway extension.

Originally, the plan was to have the Eglinton LRT only partially buried. But that changed when Mayor Rob Ford took office and struck a deal with the province to put it fully underground.

McGuinty says that deal is still in place.

"We have a formal memorandum of understanding signed, sealed and delivered," he said Wednesday. "We're going to act on the basis of that arrangement. We're a partner. We'd like to move forward in a collaborative, co-operative spirit but we have an arrangement. We're not going to deviate from that arrangement unless there's some kind of formal proposal."

Metrolinx, the provincial agency building the Eglinton line, has said any change would have to have the backing of council, the TTC and the Mayor.

However, sources in the mayor's office tell CBC News that Ford remains committed to a predominantly underground line along Eglinton.