Updated April 28, 2015 at 8:20 am:
The decision to push construction of the Sheppard LRT out to the 2020s was taken quite recently as shown by two separate reports.
In today’s Globe & Mail, Oliver Moore reports:
According to Mr. Del Duca, the delay on Sheppard was because of the difficulty of trying to do too many big projects at once. “The plan right now is to have the procurement begin for the Sheppard East LRT after we complete the Finch West LRT,” he said.
There was no firm timeline available for the Sheppard line. If it starts on its new schedule and takes about as long as Finch to build, it should be ready some time after 2025.
This timeline is sharply at odds with the information given to a reporter in the provincial budget lock-up on Thursday. The government’s position then – given on background and not for attribution, under the rules of the lock-up – was that the Sheppard line would open about a year after Finch. Mr. Del Duca’s spokesman did not return a message Monday seeking clarification of what had changed.
On April 27, over an hour after the LRT announcement, one of my readers, seeking clarification from Metrolinx received the following email:
From: Metrolinx Customer Relations <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: April 27, 2015 at 10:43:26 AM EDT
Thank you for contacting us about the status of the Sheppard East LRT.
The Sheppard East LRT is fully funded and approved. The Sheppard East LRT underpass construction at Agincourt GO Station has been completed.
Preliminary design and engineering work will be happening over the next few years. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and be completed by 2021.
I appreciate you taking the time to contact us.
[x] Customer Service Representative
GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx
One wonders just what triggered a change so last-minute that it was not communicated to Metrolinx’ own “communications” team. The Minister claims that the delay is because there is only so much construction work that can be undertaken concurrently, but this seems to have more to do with avoiding a politically difficult decision.
A much more honest position would be to say simply that “we’re waiting for the results of various studies now underway on transit for Scarborough”, but leadership, or even a bit of common sense on anything transit-related in that part of town seems to escape the Liberals at Queen’s Park.
Original article from April 27 at 12:11 pm: