TTC Meeting Preview for January 31, 2012

The TTC agenda for January 31, 2012 contains a few items of interest.

The proposed disposition of an additional $5-million in subsidy is discussed in a separate article.

Eglinton Scarborough Crosstown Project Update

A long report giving an update on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT does not address any of the issues currently swirling in the media, and it gives only a basic sense of where various parts of the project sit.  The most important part comes in Recommendation 3 in which the TTC would ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to hold off on any decision regarding overall project management and delivery until outstanding issues are resolved.

The critical paragraph (on page 7) reads:

Recently, Metrolinx has indicated that it is considering a different project delivery and governance arrangement for the Crosstown Project which could involve project management by another entity, rather than the TTC, a more extensive role for Infrastructure Ontario and one large alternative financing and procurement contract including final design and construction of all stations, the SRT, yards, and systems.

Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx have been trying to muscle into the Eglinton project for some time.  That’s no surprise considering the billions at stake and the desire by IO and Metrolinx to show that they can do a better job than what is perceived as the TTC’s historical ham-fisted project management and control.  How this attitude fits with current experience on the Spadina extension, and why we should believe another agency will do better, remains to be seen.

Moreover, the question of what, exactly, we are building on Eglinton has yet to be answered.  Queen’s Park and Metrolinx are dodging the question and claiming that they just want agreement between the TTC, Council and the Mayor.  Well, two out of three is likely, but unanimity is impossible after the highly misleading and misinformed post by Ford on his Facebook page.  The Pembina Institute (a somewhat left of Ford think tank) has responded to misrepresentations Ford makes about their position on their own site.

The meddling from Queen’s Park puts the Commission and Council in a position where a definitive policy for Toronto on the Eglinton corridor is needed soon.  Beyond that, the disposition of any leftover money (presuming that Queen’s Park would leave it on the table) needs informed debate by all concerned, and a compromise that won’t be worked out overnight.

Various factions argue for the Finch and Sheppard LRT lines, for some or all of the Sheppard subway extensions, and for the Finch BRT.  Everyone has a set of magic markers and their own map.  This is no way to plan a transit system.

Ashbridges Bay Carhouse and Shops

The Commission will award a contract for construction of the new yard, carhouse and shops at Ashbridges Bay in the amount of $237.4m.

Roncesvalles Carhouse

The Commission will award a contract for revisions to Roncesvalles Carhouse to accommodate the new LFLRV fleet in the amount of $9.9m.

Town Hall Update

There will be a presentation on the results of the recent “town hall” on TTC customer service and plans for future events.  This item is not yet available online.