Cost Estimates Nearly Double for Toronto Light Rail Plan

Cost estimate for Toronto's proposed Eglinton East LRT have ballooned from $2.3 billion to as much as $4.4 billion.

1 minute read

December 13, 2020, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The costs of adding to the TTC rail system in Toronto are rising quickly. | V. Ben / Shutterstock

"The cost of the Eglinton East LRT has nearly doubled, raising more doubts about the future of the Scarborough transit project that the city was already struggling to fund," reports Ben Spurr.

A recent report by the city places the project's price tag between $4 and $4.4 billion, up from an earlier estimate of $2.3 billion. "The report attributes the increase in part to design changes necessitated by the province’s subway plans," explains Spurr.

The history of the project's planning is important:

In 2016, Tory and then chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat successfully pitched the Eglinton East LRT to council along with a one-stop subway extension, which they said would form a Scarborough transit network. The plan was to build both projects using $3.6 billion that had previously been earmarked for a controversial and more expensive three-stop Scarborough subway extension.

That plan to build a one-stop subway was eventually scrapped in 2019, in favor of a three-stop plan, but neither version of the plan has been awarded the funding necessary to complete the project yet.

"In the new report, city staff said the cost of the Eglinton East LRT has grown because the province’s updated designs for the three-stop subway, which would also connect to Kennedy, would require building a longer tunnel to the station for the LRT."

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