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[URBAN NOTE] “Scarborough subway will cost more but attract fewer people, reports find”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Oliver Moore reports on how costs for the Scarborough subway are estimated to be spiraling up even as the numbers of potential users are falling. This Scarborough line simply makes no sense at all, apart from the political that is.

The projected cost of redesigning Scarborough transit around a new subway extension continues to rise, even as the number of new riders the project will attract has plummeted, according to a number of reports released Tuesday.

The latest information on the controversial project puts its cost at $3.35-billion, provided city council follows the staff recommendation for a more expensive underground bus station option that would add $187-million. The whole project was priced at only $2-billion a year ago, when the plan to go from a three-stop to a one-stop subway emerged.

The growing subway cost reflects ongoing analysis and is likely to continue to change. A staff report said the final price is likely to be within 70 per cent and 150 per cent of the current estimate. Council will be asked in March to push the project forward, with a round of more detailed reports from staff expected late in 2018.

Based on the most recent cost and ridership projections, the city will be spending approximately $1.45-million for each new rider the subway extension attracts.

“It’s madness,” said midtown Councillor Josh Matlow, who has long supported an LRT instead for Scarborough and argued Tuesday that Toronto has its priorities skewed. “It’s clearly a reckless use of the limited tax dollars that the city has.”

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Written by Randy McDonald

March 1, 2017 at 7:15 pm

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