A few months ago, we briefly summarized the Scarborough transit debate, which dates back to 1975 when the conversation about extending transit into Scarborough first began. We’ve been following it closely because we believe transit is essential to the growth and survival of any city, and in this case, Toronto. Extending rapid transit will connect the city with the community in Scarborough, where thousands commute into downtown Toronto every day. It will make our city grow and become more sustainable for generations to come. This is a big step for Toronto, and it’s much needed.
Most recently, the proposed deadline for the provincial and federal government to commit to the subway extension passed. Here’s a brief backgrounder on the latest developments:
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced yesterday that the federal government will commit to $600 million in order to build the subway extension in Scarborough – which is the exact amount the city had requested. Minister Flaherty announced that it was a “done deal” when he addressed the media and public next to Kennedy Station. The $600 million is added to the already $1.48 billion promised by the province, but this project is estimated to cost about $3 billion.
The TTC released a report emphasizing that although the new route as proposed by Transportation Minister Glen Murray (the subway ending at Scarborough Town Centre) appears to be a good idea, there is “no clear advantage.” And in actuality, it comes with “many disadvantages” including the fact that the existing SRT will have to be shut down during construction.
On Wednesday, the TTC’s political leaders voted in favour of the city-sanctioned subway route in Toronto’s east end (running under McCowan Road to Sheppard Avenue) as opposed to the LRT, and the province-backed subway line from Kennedy to Scarborough City Centre.
Now the ball is in city council’s court, as we wait for them to meet in October for the council meeting. They will be presented with a TTC report and then will have to decide if they’re going to raise taxes in order to support the city-approved subway plan, go with the provincially-backed subway route, or maybe even stick to the LRT.
Both the subway projects would start construction in 2014 and be completed in 2023. It’s now just a matter of agreeing on a route and all the levels of government cooperating with one another to ensure Scarborough is given the long-promised transit solution.
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