NEWS

Stintz not sold on Murray's subway plan

09/12/2013 10:27 EDT | Updated 11/12/2013 05:12 EST
TTC Chair Karen Stintz is worried the province is on the wrong track with its proposal for the Scarborough subway extension.

- Murray unveils Scarborough subway proposal.

- Ford says he'll raise taxes to pay for Scarborough subway

- Metrolinx, TTC $500M apart on cost of building Scarborough subway

Stintz met with Premier Kathleen Wynne Wednesday, and said she’s concerned the province’s plan to extend the Bloor-Danforth line from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Town Centre won’t connect with Sheppard Avenue.

“We want to build the right service for Scarborough,” Stintz told CBC News. “This isn’t a subway; it's an elevated two-stop route.”

The city had an agreement to build a seven-stop light-rail line running from Kennedy Station all the way to Sheppard. That project was fully covered by provincial money but this summer the city opted for the more expensive — and not fully funded — subway option.

That prompted Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray to propose the shorter subway extension last week.

Stintz said the Murray plan doesn’t account for all the costs of switching from light rail to subway, including subway cars and signal systems.

"Those elements are quite costly and it's unclear whether the city is expected to pick up the cost,” she said.

She also said there are technical problems associated with the subway plan, including:

- Kennedy Station would have to be moved to accommodate subway cars, which could affect the Eglinton-Crosstown line already under construction.

- Running subways along the light rail route will require tight turns, forcing subway trains to slow down.

- The Scarborough RT won’t be able to continnue running during the construction period, anywhere from three to five years. This will mean using shuttle buses along the route.

Mayor Rob Ford is also concerned the city will be on the hook for $85 million in so-called sunk costs of switching to subway technology.

For the Murray plan to go ahead, the current master agreement between the city and Metrolinx — the province’s regional planning body — would have to be revisited by Toronto city council.

“Glen Murray said he was going to pay for the subway overruns, now Metrolinx is saying we're responsible for it," said Ford.

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