The Scarborough Subway Vs LRT Debate, Again (Updated)

Updated July 3, 2013 at 11:20pm: 

TTC Chair Karen Stintz, as reported by the CBC’s Jamie Strashin on Twitter, claims that Minister of Transportation Glen Murray has put $1.4b of the planned $1.8b SRT conversion cost on the table as a contribution to a subway project.

Jamie Strashin ‏@StrashinCBC

TTC Chair Karen Stintz tells me she just met with Provincial Transportation Minister Glen Murray. 1/2

2/2 Stintz: Murray indicated that if city shows clarity around subway option, province would be “open” to freeing up $1.4 slated for LRT.

There has been no confirmation from Murray whether this is true, or if Stintz/Strashin have misreported a conversation.  Such a proposal would violate claims about provincial support for a subway extension that were made in the Metrolinx letter to the City of Toronto.  Given Murray’s past history of freelancing on government policy, we will have to wait for clarification of what is really on the table from the provincial point of view.  An informed debate at Council requires that this be stated publicly and unambiguously from the Premier’s Office.

Meanwhile, Stintz offers her own version of the situation on her blog, but with no reference to her conversation with Minister Murray.  She repeats the canard that a four-year shutdown will be required to replace the SRT with LRT in the same corridor.  Moreover, she adds a sweetener about using the existing SRT right-of-way to expand trackage for the GO Stouffville corridor, something which is not actually necessary.

Mayor Ford has announced that he has asked the City Manager to report to the July16 Council meeting on the Scarborough subway option.  How definitive this report will be remains to be seen, especially if the TTC and Metrolinx cannot come to an agreement on cost estimates and the penalties involved in ending the LRT project.

The original article follows below.

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