$150M needed to finish delayed Spadina subway extension by end of 2017

WATCH: The TTC reveals a new timeline and budget for the already burdened transit project. Mark McAllister reports.

TORONTO – The extension of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension is roughly $150 million over budget and at least two years behind schedule.

And the city of Toronto is on the hook for $90 million of that. York Region is expected to pick up the remaining $60 million.

The entire project is 70 per cent complete, TTC CEO Andy Byford said at a press conference Friday where he laid out exactly what went wrong.

The track and tunnels are complete and a person could, if they could get in, “walk from Downsview all the way up to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre,” Byford said.

WATCH:  Andy Byford explains why the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension went so badly over-budget.

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Nearly $1.6 billion of the original $2.63 billion budget has been spent. But to get trains on the track by the end of 2017, Byford said another $150 million would have to be spent in addition to the $1 billion already budgeted.

He said the funding gap could be bridged without new spending by shifting any operating surpluses, profits from land sales, and the money saved by deferring other projects.

Byford is presenting a report to the TTC board next week which outlines various ways of moving forward – the cheapest of which is finding an external project manager and allowing sole-source management.

Byford suggested sole-sourcing would save money and time in finishing the project.

“I wouldn’t be standing before you if I didn’t think it would [open by 2017],” Byford said. “If the board agrees with our recommendation… then I believe it can be done.”

If the extension isn’t open by the end of 2017, Byford said he “expects to be held accountable.”

WATCH: Andy Byford commits to having the subway extension open by 2017.

The other three options delay the project even further. They include maintaining the status quo which would delay the project until 2019, putting out an RFP for project managers, delaying the project until 2018, or making other small changes to the project which would keep construction going until 2018.

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The latest the project could finish, Byford said, was the second quarter of 2019 – nearly four years passed the original deadline.

What caused the delays in finishing the Spadina subway extension?

So what caused the years of delays? Funding delays, problems found underground, contractor delays, and a death.

Byford laid out each reason in Friday’s press conference. He said a “complex funding arrangement” between all three levels of government, and the TTC led to an 18-month delay where funds weren’t available. The TTC was ready to start in March, 2007 he said but had to wait until September, 2008.

WATCH: Andy Byford explains the “complex” funding structure of the subway extension.

And as often happens with large transit projects, digging underground revealed utilities that had to be moved out of the way.

Further delays were caused when a subcontractor was killed at the site of the York University station site when a crane collapsed on top of him. A Ministry of Labour investigation shut down progress in the area for nearly four months.

Byford also lamented the number of contractors employed to do the job – he said a delay by one led to cascading delays down the line. That also led to a myriad of claims by the contractors who were unable to start their work.

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The third party management group would help deal with those claims. Byford wouldn’t say Friday the value of those claims or which group he was recommending.

TTC Chair Josh Colle called the delays “unacceptable” in a statement Friday and said the city will be conducting an audit of all TTC projects.

“The status quo cannot continue with respect to this project, or any of the TTC’s major capital infrastructure projects.”

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