NEWS

Province to respond to Scarborough subway vote

07/18/2013 06:55 EDT | Updated 09/17/2013 05:12 EDT
Mayor Rob Ford and the rest of city council may learn more today about how much the province is willing to contribute to a Scarborough subway.

Council voted 28-16 Wednesday to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway line into Scarborough from Kennedy station, instead of building a light-rail line.

While the light rail option was fully funded by Queen’s Park, the city will need more money from the provincial and federal governments to pay for the subway, which will cost about $1 billion more.

The city is asking for all $1.8 billion the provincial Liberals had originally pledged for the light rail project, and for the federal government to pay for half the project's capital costs, estimated to be at least $400 million.

So far the federal government has made no commitment to the project. A spokesperson for federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did not respond to a request for comment from The Canadian Press on Wednesday.

Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray has said he wouldn't make a final decision until city council made up its mind and provided a sound business plan for a subway.

He wouldn't say Wednesday whether the province will go along with the subway option.

"I look forward to tomorrow morning," he tweeted after Wednesday’s vote, alluding to a planned press conference Thursday. "Stay tuned.”

Wednesday’s vote is a victory for Ford, who has long promised a subway for Scarborough. He said yesterday the subway is a transit investment that will "unlock the true potential of Toronto."

The project’s opponents, however, say its funding uncertainties could leave the city on the hook for extra costs.

Coun. Josh Matlow took to Twitter after Wednesday's vote to voice his discontent with the subway decision.

The Ontario Liberals were originally opposed to a subway, but softened their position in recent weeks.

The Liberals have denied the change of heart has anything to do with the Aug. 1 byelection in a Scarborough riding, one of five Liberal-held seats up for grabs.

MORE:cbcNews