scarborough subway extension

Doug Ford set to revive three-stop Scarborough subway extension

The final plan for one of Toronto's messiest and most controversial transit projects is morphing dramatically, once again, according to a newly-unveiled $28.5 billion provincial transit expansion program — and this time, Ontario is helping to foot the bill.

Remember back in 2013 when City Council voted to scrap a fully-funded LRT line in favour of a three-stop subway extension in Scarborough? And then how, in 2017, they voted again to scale the extension back to just one station? And how lots of people got really mad about the idea of Toronto paying $3.35 billion for a single subway stop?

As part of its plan to "upload" responsibility for Toronto's subway system to the province, Ontario's PC government announced today that it will be moving forward with a three-stop Scarborough subway extension as originally intended.

Set to open sometime "before 2030," the new extension will cost $5.5 billion to build and will include stops at Lawrence East Station, Scarborough Town Centre Station and McCowan Station, according to the province.

"I'm proud to say that we are finally, finally delivering transit that the hardworking folks in Scarborough have waited for over 30 years," said Premier Doug Ford in a press conference Wednesday morning, noting that construction on a Sheppard Loop would begin as soon as the Scarborough extension is complete.

"This one is close to my heart, this one is very close to my brother Rob," said Ford of the project, referring to his late brother, who served as Mayor of Toronto between 2010 and 2014. "Both of us have been the champions of transit in Scarborough... This one is for you Rob."

Sweet as that sentiment may be, critics of the provincial transit takeover say that the new Scarborough plan — which is one of four major infrastructure investments announced this morning — will actually leave locals worse off in terms of transit.

"Premier Ford is leaving eastern Scarborough communities off the map and wants to tear up our city's transit plans," said Brenda Thompson of Scarborough Transit Action in a release following Ford's press conference.

"The Eglinton East LRT is ready to build this year, but is unfunded. We are outraged that we are being kept waiting for a rapid public transit network."

Indeeed, plans for the city's own Eglinton East Light Rail Transit line are conspicuously  absent from the province's transit vision, as are plans for transit along Toronto's waterfront.

"Sending projects back to the drawing board will cost us more and delay new lines," said TTCriders spokesperson Shelagh Pizey-Allen similarly on Wednesday. "We can't afford to go backwards. Our transit plans need funding, not political meddling."

Lead photo by

Brian Bonnici

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