TTC Capital Budget

On January 31, the TTC passed an amended version of its capital budget. There is a good PDF of the report including amendments on the city’s website as part of the Budget Committee agenda at:

Some noteworthy amendments:

  • Funding for various studies and Environmental Assessments in support of the Mayor’s transit plans.  This will allow some preliminary work to be done on the proposed network of LRT/Busway schemes.
  • A North Etobicoke rapid transit assessment for which Commissioner Hall (whose ward includes the study area) has indicated a preference for LRT.
  • A Finch hydro corridor study from Yonge to Dufferin (where it would meet up with the York U busway).
  • A study of extending the Bloor-Danforth subway to the East Mall.
  • Funding for the first stage of developing improved customer information systems.

The report details the funding issues and the shortfalls between what is committed by various governments and programs and what is required.  Almost at the end is a chart showing the combined funding requirements of various programs.  Note that it still includes a future Sheppard Subway project because the TTC has not (yet) formally changed their mind on the technology to be used for this.

7 thoughts on “TTC Capital Budget

  1. Can you comment on whether these five year capital budgets have a record for accuracy beyond the current year? (i.e. How does the 2007 annual budget compare to what was said about 2007 in 2005 and 2006?)

    Steve:  Things tend to be fairly accurate year-over-year in the short term, but large projects creep out of dark corners sometimes if there is political will to support them.

    I was interested to see that there was a $72 million SURPLUS in the 2006 Capital Budget. Is this due to projects running late or ?? As we know TTC is not too good at managing its projects to bring them in on time!

    Steve:  The TTC always has a “surplus” in that they don’t spend everything they plan to.  Typically, delays on projects will cause their cash flow to come in under budget for the year pushing some spending into the next year.  Conversely, some projects do actually spend money faster than budgetted.  This is the inevitable problem of trying to fix multi-year projects into a fixed set of 12-month periods.  The TTC budgets for all of them, not knowing which will come in low, but the projected subsidy requirement from the City is always adjusted with an “unspecified reduction” on the assumption that about 10% of the proposed budget won’t be needed. 

    You have pointed out elsewhere that if (or, one hopes, when) we get new (accessible) streetcars there will need to be changes made to the Yards and probably to the overhead. Is the cost of this noted anywhere or will there be an “Oh, by the way” moment later on?

    Steve:  There are references to some of this buried in the text of the report.

    I assume that the cost of laying new streetcar track in West Don Lands and other parts of the Waterfront will come from the Waterfront Corporation budget and that the TTC will then “only” need to provide cars and staff to actually operate over it.

    Steve:  I think that the TTC hopes that TWRC will even pay for the new streetcars required for the lines, and they probably have hopes that the Union Station loop project will also come from that pot as an integral part of the waterfront plans.  We shall see. 


  2. Wasn’t the BD extension to the East Mall already studied?

    Steve:  Yes, but this request is for an update and an estimated impact on the budget.  The trigger is that there is a possible land swap involved with a pending development.  Assuming that this extension would actually stay on the surface, we might see a subway line built for under $200M/km.  While they’re at it, resignalling in the vicinity of Kipling would be nice to get rid of the needlessly glacial operation.


  3. The article mentions BRT for use in the avenues. Do you think that BRT is worthwhile even as transition point to LRT?

    Personally, I think it will make the eventual LRT upgrade look like a glorified bus in the eyes of the public.

    Steve: My gut feeling is that once a busway is implemented, that’s what it will stay for a very long time. The basic problem is that projects, or parts of the network, don’t get a shot at major capital funding very often, and once a busway is built, it will be decades before the same corridor gets further attention given the huge backlog elsewhere.

    However, an eventual upgrade has its own issues, not the least of which is that installing the tracks and overhead could displace an existing BRT operation. Overall, I would rather that we decide now what we are likely to need and build appropriately rather than making half-steps just for the appearance of progress.


  4. Steve,

    If you don’t mind my asking, what do you think of the extension to East Mall proposal?

    I’ve looked at the satellite shots of the possible route on Google Maps, and I think it can be done entirely on the surface. It would follow the CP right-of-way to just east of Shorncliffe and, from there, it only has to cross half-empty parking lots and past a near-defunct mall with an empty Walmart. So the extension could be done relatively inexpensively.

    Cloverdale Mall has been renovated, and a connection between the mall and the station would provide a trip generator (indeed, why not call the station Cloverdale, since East Mall strikes me as an odd name for the WESTERN terminus of a crosstown subwayline). Also, there is interest in bulking up the intersection with residential and commercial development (a move which, ironically, the councillor who most supports this project, Peter Milcizn — apologies for the misspelling — opposes), so again we could have densities which support this extension which don’t exist for the more commonly considered extension to Sherway.

    Finally, if we move the proposed regional transit terminal from Kipling to East Mall, we could roll in the costs, perhaps save some money, and hand Mississauga Transit a terminal that’s adjacent to Dundas Street and Highway 427. Your thoughts?

    Steve: This certainly sounds intriguing and needs detailed study. Having said that, the whole business of moving Mississaga Transit to Kipling from Islington is bound up in the proposed development for SNC Lavalin at Islington. Delaying the relocation of MT to “Cloverdale Station” would throw the whole project off kilter.

    The TTC needs to figure out whether all of this as a package — Islington, Kipling, Cloverdale — can be done as a less expensive package than the individual bits. My opinion on where this should sit in the grand priorities will depend on how cheaply we could build all of this.

    And, obviously, I like the name Cloverdale for the terminus.


  5. I’m all for any westward expansion along the Bloor Line, but there is one problem with moving the Mississauga Transit terminal facilities from their new home at Kipling to any future East Mall/Cloverdale station in that it would be missing the GO Transit component that would make it a regional gateway much like Finch, Scarborough Centre and to a certain extent Yorkdale station. GO just finished an expansion at Kipling to accommodate longer trains, I don’t think that they’d be willing to tear the whole thing up and ship the station further down the track to East Mall, nor do I think they’d build another station there with Kipling so close.

    The resulting route restructuring with the Cloverdale station would at most draw away 5 routes from Kipling (112 West Mall, 111 East Mall, 192 Airport Rocket, 191 Hwy. 27 Rocket and 123 Shornecliff; though the last 2 I would probably leave at Kipling just to provide some service along Dundas.) meaning there wouldn’t be a need for a large terminal without Mississauga Transit unless some of the routes were split between Kipling and Cloverdale.

    On another side note, the new commuter lot along Subway Cres. would be lost in any westward extension as it sits in the way of the tracks. These spots could probably easily be replaced at the new Cloverdale station.


  6. LRT running up Browns Line from Lakeshore LRT/Long Branch GO to Sherway Gardens, on up East or West Mall to ‘Cloverdale’ Station and further North to a connecting Eglinton LRT and onwards to the Airport! 3 major East/West lines, 2 malls and an international tranport hub connected in one fell swoop.

    Or run the Eglinton LRT to the Airport and the ‘Mall’ LRT up Hwy 27 to Woodbine Shopping Centre, hitting three commerce zones. What a beautiful dream…


  7. Very impressive folks … I have long envisioned a westward extention to Cloverdale station as a precursor to any further future extentions. It is economically viable as there a major shopping centre, easy access to highway, create a regional transit centre. I’d understand why it took till 2008 for anyone to come up with such a suggestion … surely before they decided to build the GO and Missisauga terminal at Kipling these funds could have been diverted to the Cloverdale extension.


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