After an entire day of debate, Toronto City Council voted Tuesday to approve the alignment and procurement model for the Scarborough subway.
The 6.2 kilometre subway will extend from Kennedy Station on the Bloor Line to Scarborough Town Centre along McCowan, as recommended by city staff. Council also approved the building of a new bus terminal that is meant to help create a “dynamic hub” that will attract businesses and build communities.
This is one of the final steps towards the actual construction of the subway. Staff will report back once procurement is at 30 per cent completion. It is currently sitting at five per cent.
All of city council agreed that having a transit system that connects Scarborough with the rest of the GTHA was necessary. As Toronto Mayor John Tory said while presenting this item to the rest of council, “in my respectful opinion, we need to move on.”
“The time for debate is over. It’s time to actually start building transit in Scarborough.”
The motion passed 26-18.
Why did this decision take a whole day? It’s because of the price tag. Councillors were shocked to find out that at just 5 per cent procurement, the Scarborough Subway had a price tag of approximately $3.56 billion, much higher than originally expected. When asked about this balloon in cost, the CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission noted the time that had passed since council originally decided to go forward with a subway. The longer council waits, the more expensive it will get.
Council came close to passing another motion that would have required staff to submit another report showcasing a business-cost analysis between the Scarborough subway and the seven-stop LRT alternative. According to city manager Peter Wallace, council had never asked for a comparison like this before. The motion was rejected 27-17.
Tory said that asking for another study will simply lead to another study, and then another. He pressed the need to start designing and building transit in Scarborough.
“I know in 30 years no one will question this decision,” Tory said.