Liberals’ rushed subway scheme self-serving and arrogant: NDP

Today in the legislature, Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese blasted Minister of Transportation Glen Murray for his government’s rushed Scarborough subway plan. By tearing up a master agreement and throwing $85 million in transit plans away, Marchese says Murray is running roughshod over municipal partners and putting Scarborough rapid transit at risk.

“What price will the City of Toronto, the TTC, Metrolinx and, above all, the taxpayers pay for the minister’s arrogance and self-serving scheme?” asked Marchese.

Yesterday, Metrolinx released a report that examined the possibility of running a subway along the existing Scarborough RT corridor. The report was requested by Murray two months ago, while the Liberals were contesting the Scarborough by-election.

“This report adds no new information, except to confirm that anything is feasible if you are willing to throw enough money at it and don’t care what your partners think,” said Marchese.

The TTC long ago ruled out this idea due to the tight turns along the route, which a subway cannot physically handle. Metrolinx signed a Master Agreement with the City of Toronto to build an LRT line along the corridor.

“Yesterday, we learned that the minister’s Scarborough transit proposal does not have a detailed cost estimate, would likely cause delays and cause overruns on the Eglinton Crosstown line, and will require Toronto council approval and willingness to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in sunk costs and sunk overruns,” explained Marchese. “Why is the minister undermining transit expansion in Scarborough by floating a plan with so many flaws, roadblocks and uncertainties?”

Metrolinx Chair Robert Prichard confirmed Tuesday the latest Liberal plan will require a Toronto city council vote to reopen the current agreement with the province.

Murray seemed to dismiss the need to consult municipal partners. “We don’t need city hall politics here,” he said.

“The minister is running roughshod over Metrolinx by pushing a proposal, without knowing how much taxpayer money will be wasted by breaking contracts with Bombardier and other suppliers,” said Marchese. “And without the agreement of Toronto council to cover sunk costs and cost overruns, and without confirmation that the plan is technically feasible.”

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