Mayor John Tory is defending his plan for a Scarborough subway extension after its price went up another $200 million, saying a revived LRT network would take a similar cost hit.
City staff told council Wednesday that the financing cost for the one-stop subway will add $200 million — putting the total bill at nearly $3.4 billion.
But Tory defended that price escalation, telling reporters the extension would yield major benefits and that reviving the seven-stop LRT plan killed under his predecessor would incur the same extra cost.
He also shot back at critics calling for the extension to be ditched in favour of the old LRT plan, saying the subway would last 80 years while the LRT only 30.
Tory said the TTC head and deputy city manager both agree the original LRT plan is no longer an option, and that the public is in favour of a subway.
“The people of Toronto agree. They’ve heard the debates and they say get on with it.”
Council began debating the Scarborough extension and 15 years’ worth of other transit plans Wednesday, and the heated discussion may go into the night before a final vote comes down.
Several councillors are pushing for the LRT to be brought back, saying the proposed subway extension would cost too much and carry too few passengers, with the money better spent on a cheaper light-rail network with more stops.
The rising subway cost has also called into question where the city will find money for that project along with an 18-stop Scarborough LRT on Eglinton East. The tab for both projects reached $4.5 billion last month due in part to higher costs from difficult tunneling on the six-kilometre subway route.