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Scarborough subway could have '3 or 4 stops,' Murray says

09/05/2013 08:59 EDT | Updated 11/05/2013 05:12 EST
Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray says there could be more stops along the proposed Scarborough subway extension than the two-stop plan he announced on Wednesday.

Speaking Thursday on Metro Morning, Murray said there could be “three or four” stations along the proposed route, which would extend the existing Bloor-Danforth subway from Kennedy Station to the Scarborough Town Centre.

Murray presented his subway extension plan Wednesday, using a map that showed two stops (Lawrence Avenue and Scarborough Town Centre) along the route. Murray said Thursday there may be room in the budget for more stations, but didn't offer specifics.

"If I was making the map again now I probably would have put three or four dots on it because it was simply meant to be illustrative,” Murray told host Matt Galloway. "The budget considers options for a number of stations.

"We have a 30 per cent contingency built into this. We have underestimated the cost by 30 per cent, so we have some room to play with."

The city and Queen's Park had a provincially funded plan in place the build a seven-stop transit extension in Scarborough using the cheaper light-rail technology. Then the city reversed direction in July, opting for a subway extension despite a funding shortfall that would require tax increases, more charges to developers and a federal contribution of about $500 billion.

With no offers of funding help coming from Ottawa, Murray announced on Wednesday his plan to build a 6.4-kilometre subway extension.

Some have criticized the Murray plan because it includes only two stops and falls short of Sheppard Avenue. Murray’s plan would also build the subway extension along the route of the aging Scarborough RT. That means the SRT could not operate while the subway is built, forcing passengers to take buses during the construction period, estimated to be three or four years. There are also questions about whether a subway line could operate within the tighter curves of the SRT alignment.

Despite Murray’s criticisms of city hall, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was positive about the plan on Wednesday, saying it fulfills a promise he made to bring a subway to Scarborough.

Not clear who's planning transit, Stintz says

TTC Chair Karen Stintz, also interviewed on Metro Morning Thursday, said Murray’s plan comes with many questions and creates confusion about which body — the city, the TTC or the province though its regional transit planning body Metrolinx — is actually in charge of transit planning.

Stintz was not invited to Wednesday’s announcement, and learned of it through news reports.

“Right now it’s quite unclear who’s responsible for transit planning,” Stintz said.

“Why does Metrolinx keep sending letters to council asking for our opinion if [Murray] is going to do something different?”

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