This article continues a series on the cost estimates for the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) and includes commentaries on:
Previous articles in this series:
- Part I: A review of reports before Toronto’s Executive Committee and Council in March 2017
- Part II: A review of previous and current cost estimates
The origin of the Value Engineering Study and a related Peer Review of costs lies in a distrust at City Council that the TTC’s cost estimates for the SSE are credible given the experience of the Vaughan exension (TYSSE). It is ironic that the TYSSE went over budget, and yet the desire for an SSE review was at least in part motivated by the idea that it could be brought in below the TTC’s projected cost.
In brief, the Peer Review concludes that the TTC estimates are reasonable at the current level of design.
The Value Engineering (VE) Study entailed a week-long series of meetings at which many ideas for potential cost savings were developed by a large group, then winnowed down to those with the most promise.
Although a few proposals foresee cost savings of over $100 million, these options have either already been rolled into the base project design or were replaced by a more expensive alternative. SSE advocates, notably Mayor Tory, have trumpeted these potential savings as future reductions in the project estimates, but in fact they are not available for that purpose.
Many of the proposals have no calculated saving, and it is unclear whether they will survive further review, and if so, would contribute substantially to reducing the overall project cost.
The VE study raises many questions in cases where its proposals appear to be superseded by a more recent design for the SSE than the one the VE team considered, and in cases where some VE proposals are contradictory. I have written to the City asking for clarification on these points and have included their reply in this article.