Over past months, the Ontario Line’s effect on trees in various locations around Toronto has become something of a cause célèbre. Osgoode Hall was, in a way, the “poster child” for this because of its location and the historic buildings at Queen & University. However, this was far from the only affected location with tree felling on a massive scale elsewhere including Moss Park, Riverside, and now planned for the Don Valley at the Leaside Bridge and the crossing of Walmsley Brook north of Thorncliffe Park.
A common refrain from citizens along the Ontario Line and other corridors is that Metrolinx does not deal in good faith, but rather presents its positions as unchangeable and pressing. They look only for acquiescence so that “consultation” can be claimed for the record. There is no public record of these consultations, and no community is aware of what might be told to others except by information sharing among them.
On February 23, 2023, Toronto and East York Community Council established a subcommittee composed of Councillors from Wards 10 Spadina-Fort York, 13 Toronto Centre and 14 Toronto-Danforth and “directed the Executive Director Transit Expansion Division to report to the first meeting in March 2023 regarding the current status of the Ontario Line, pedestrian and traffic management plans, and opportunities for City and resident involvement moving forward”.
That meeting will occur on March 22, 2023. The only report on the agenda is from the Executive Director, and a great deal of it is a rehash of information from earlier reports along with a claim that Metrolinx is engaging with communities along the corridor. The actual degree of consultation is a matter for some debate, and one cannot wonder whether the ED is parroting the official line from Metrolinx, hardly an appropriate tactic for a senior City official. I will address that report in more detail after the meeting, but turn here to a proposal for the new entrance to Osgoode Station.
Updated March 17, 2023 at 7:15 pm: The Early Works list for East Harbour Station has been corrected. In the original version of the article that section was copied as a template from another station’s entry, but not changed to reflect the East Harbour site.
This project is the remnant of a scheme first proposed by mayoral candidate John Tory in May 2014 to overlay a frequent surface rapid transit service from Unionville to Pearson Airport using primarily GO Transit corridors.
The proposed route included a bizarre idea of running a mainline railway corridor along Eglinton Avenue West in lands originally reserved for the Richview Expressway, and later intended for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. SmartTrack itself descended from an idea to run a similar route whose western leg would use the GO Milton corridor rather than Eglinton Avenue. Both of these foresaw frequent service with the dual benefit of providing more capacity into the core and making office/industrial areas that were choked by gridlock on roads more accessible by transit.
Both ideas were deeply flawed, and the issues with SmartTrack are covered in detail in many other reviews. In fairly short order, pieces started to fall off of the proposal, but it remained a scheme to add stops to GO within the City of Toronto and use GO at least in part for urban rapid transit.
One fairly early casualty was the notion of a separate SmartTrack service. This was replaced by the idea that at least some GO trains would serve new stops, although the number of such trains was always hard to nail down as Metrolinx service plans changed. Getting a strait answer out of them proved almost impossible, and the best we can get today is a 15 minute service on all corridors with more if demand justifies this.
This is considerably poorer service than was envisioned in the SmartTrack hype and in the way it was presented to Council. Indeed, ST was seen to be so competitive in the Scarborough corridor that the Scarborough Subway Extension was shifted east to avoid the competition.
That is a far cry from SmartTrack’s original promise, but the brand lived on because it was Mayor Tory’s plan. Dropping the name would be suicidal for City and TTC planners, even though Tory suffered from an acute case of “the emperor’s new clothes”. Metrolinx simply humoured the Mayor by using his name for their new stops.
We have reached the point where only four of the original 22 stops on the ST line remain: Finch-Kennedy, East Harbour, King-Liberty and St. Clair-Old Weston. A station on the Barrie line, not the original ST corridor although the format of the map below disguises this, was added.
All five of the station projects are running later than the originally proposed opening dates. Details are given in each station’s section.
A sixth station was proposed at Front-Spadina, but there is no sign of it yet even though the City’s contribution to the station dates back to a $60 million payment toward GO expansion costs in 2017-2019. (See Revised Ontario-Toronto Agreement in Principle at page 9.)
Toronto’s SmartTrack Station costs are, under that agreement, deemed to be the City’s contribution to GO Transit Growth Capital for 2017-18 to 2024-25.
The anticipated cost of the five stations was $1.463 billion, a Metrolinx estimate, but costs have now risen by $234 million to a total of $1.697 billion. Of this, $585 million would come from the Government of Canada. Although the station-by-station breakdown is in a confidential attachment to the report, this means the average cost per station would be $339 million, a value that was once considered rich for an underground subway station.
Toronto is prepared to spend a lot of money for a handful of stations that might only see 4 trains/hour each way.
The report recommends that Council ask Metrolinx to pause the contract award for Bloor-Lansdowne station pending a guarantee from Queen’s Park that Ontario will pick up cost overrun. This is only one of many transit projects that faces problems with rising costs, not to mention projects under other portfolios.
City staff are seeking City Council direction to request the Province to pay all cost increases over the existing Program Budget of $1.463 billion to deliver the Program, which as of the date of this report is anticipated to be $234 million, as further detailed in Table 1 of Confidential Attachment 1.
A decision on the future of the Program is required urgently as the Design-Build (DB) procurement for the Bloor-Lansdowne Station contract is set to be awarded in early April. With a DB procurement, the City, through Metrolinx, would be committing to proceed to detailed design and construction. As such, there may be no opportunity for the City to reconsider or “off-ramp” its commitment to the station’s delivery once the contract is awarded. Metrolinx has secured an extension to the bid validity date with the proponent until April 5, 2023. Prior to making this commitment, City staff are seeking City Council’s direction to confirm to Metrolinx that the City will not proceed with the delivery of the Bloor-Lansdowne Station until the Province has committed the additional funding required to deliver the Program as set out above.
SmartTrack Stations Update pp 7-8.
What Should Stay? What Should Go?
City has sunk costs in design (listed in the confidential appendix), and contracts have been awarded for all but the Bloor-Lansdowne Station. It is very unlikely that Council would consider dropping any stations except for Bloor-Lansdowne, but should ask itself the question of whether proceeding with all of the stations actually makes sense. Metrolinx is unlikely to let them off the hook.
Meanwhile, conversion of the SRT corridor as a bus roadway is not yet funded because the City wants Metrolinx to pay for it. At $59 million this is small change and yet it will have a considerable benefit for both riders and for the TTC. If the work begins as soon after the SRT shutdown as possible, the bus roadway could be operational by Winter 2025, according to the TTC.
In the event the city is unable to secure the outstanding $59M for the SRT busway, will the project run along Kennedy, Ellesmere and Midland until the SSE is completed?
If the City is unable to secure funding from the province, it would ultimately have to find an alternate source if it wished to build the busway. The transit priority measures that will be implemented on Kennedy, Ellesmere, and Midland are planned to be designed as long-term solutions regardless of the busway construction; they could have legacy use for customers even beyond SSE is completed.
This is an example of how funding for projects is discussed in isolation without looking at tradeoffs that might be possible or necessary. What we do not know is how much dropping Bloor-Lansdowne from the overall plan will save in total, only that there is a $234 million overrun for the five stations.
We are in an interregnum between Mayors, and there is no sense of whether any of the would-be candidates see SmartTrack spending as an issue to revisit.
Many more illustrations were available on the TTC’s bid site, and this article is based on documents there which go into considerably more detail.
There are a lot of images here, and so I will leave most of the article beyond the “more” line.
The project involves the creation of a separate eastbound platform for Line 2 Bloor-Danforth and the reconfiguration of the existing centre platform as westbound only. Circulation space between Line 1 Yonge and Line 2 will be expanded substantially.
At the north end of Bloor Station, both platforms will be extended about one car length to the north (the existing Bloor crossover is located a short distance north of the station) to open up circulation space .
A new main entrance will be built within 2 Bloor Street East.
On the south side, at 81 Bloor East, an entrance will be added within a building whose primary purpose is to house a substation for electrical power to the expanded station. Traction power will continue to be supplied through the TTC’s Asquith Substation.
Four new fan plants will be added to bring the expanded station to modern fire code, and the existing fan plant at the south end of Bloor Station will be refurbished.
The drawings show no provision for Platform Edge Doors.
This will be a Design-Build project with the successful bidder responsible for taking TTC plans now at about 30% completion to a full 100% design, followed by construction. The Request for Proposals is expected to close later in 2023.
Construction is planned to begin in 2024Q2 with the new Line 2 eastbound platform and new areas of Line 1 platforms in service by 2029Q2. This assumes that the Yonge North Subway Extension to York Region will open in 2030. The project would close out in 2031.
Support for the project is in place from all levels of government, but until the bids come in, we will not know whether the full scope of work will fit within available funding of $1.5 billion.
The footprint of the expanded station will be considerable, and the drawing below gives an idea of how much more territory the station will occupy.
This article is a follow-up to my earlier piece about the TTC’s Rapid Transit Expansion report including the effect of Ontario Line construction on the 501 Queen service.
Updated March 1, 2023:
The reason that track installation on Adelaide, which by itself is relatively straightforward, cannot proceed immediately is that nine Toronto Hydro and Bell vaults must be relocated. Metrolinx opted not to do this work, but the City has taken over.
Streetcars will remain on 501 Queen but will divert both ways via Broadview, Dundas and McCaul from May 2023 to March 2024. A bus shuttle will operate over the central portion of the route.
The list of track construction projects for 2023-24 has been clarified.
Back in December 2021, the City approved a report with a very long list of proposed road closures for Ontario Line construction.
The construction at Queen Station will entail a multi-year diversion of 501 Queen service, and the plan was for streetcars to operate:
Eastbound via York, Adelaide and Church
Westbound via Church, Richmond and York
Track already exists for the westbound route, but new track is required on York and on Adelaide for the eastbound diversion.
Much of this work was supposed to have been completed in 2022, with the intent that the diversion would be available in May 2023. Various factors combined to foul up this schedule.
The contract to install new track on York and on Adelaide east to Victoria was, for some reason, to be a Metrolinx responsibility separate from City work on utility upgrades and relocation. This lengthened the potential timespan with two separate procurements, and inevitable delays as one contractor waited for the the other to finish.
Metrolinx was supposed to build the new track on York Street in 2022. This did not happen. According to a recent City report (about which more below), Metrolinx has been preoccupied with the Ontario Line.
Construction on Adelaide west from York to Spadina was done by the City to restore track inactive for many decades and to provide more flexibility for downtown diversions. This went quickly through the fall, and was performed by Midome Construction who were also working on utilities east of York.
For various reasons, notably discovery of unexpected underground Toronto Hydro and Bell plant, the work east on Adelaide from York did not complete in 2022, although it was substantially finished from York to Bay. Some water main connections were incomplete with pipes blocking the curb lanes, and this complicated traffic and transit diversions around a major sinkhole at King and University.
Until quite recently, if one ignored the incomplete work on the diversion trackage, it was possible to think that the streetcars would simply divert as planned beginning in May. This is obviously not going to happen, and it must have been clear to the TTC for months that the 501 Queen service would have to be modified.
The first hint of this was buried in the report under discussion at today’s (February 28, 2023) TTC Board Meeting.
Metrolinx has identified that the potential delay to complete the streetcar detour work will result in approximately 20 months of shuttle bus service commencing in early May 2023. The TTC is still working closely with Metrolinx and the City on exploring options to optimize the construction schedule of the Adelaide civil and streetcar track construction work to reduce the duration of shuttle bus service.
TTC Transit Network Expansion Update at p. 14
The words “shuttle bus” will send hapless TTC riders screaming from the room. There is a long history, particularly in recent years, of the TTC’s incompetence in operating construction shuttles including changing routes with little or no notice, conflicting information online and at stops, and erratic service with shuttles running in packs and taking long layovers at terminals. This was compounded by the number of planned and unplanned construction projects and the overlapped periods of construction on what should have been distinct route and road closures.
The grand daddy of them all is the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles project where all manner of delays including pandemic effects on work, unexpected utility relocations, slow work by affected companies such as Toronto Hydro, Bell and others, pushed the completion date out to, with luck, July 2023.
The idea that Queen would see 20 months of shuttle buses before the streetcar diversion would be ready is a testament to fouled up planning. The work should never have been divided between Metrolinx and the City but consolidated as a single contract with a goal of completion as fast as possible.
We now know, courtesy of the Star’s reporting that the delay will be only ten months instead of twenty thanks to the City’s contract consolidation. That’s an improvement, but it should never have been necessary.
For the TTC’s part, this continues a sad tale of communications and consultation foul-ups. The need for shuttles would clearly have been known months ago. How exactly they will operate is totally unknown because the TTC has issued no guidance on this. Will there be shuttles downtown? Over the entire route? Will the route be split to make it more manageable and give different routing options for eastern and western legs?
This should have been a public discussion months ago even if some details were still to be nailed down rather than a surprise landing on already-suffering riders who have dealt with many disruptions on Queen and other routes.
There are several planned track and road construction projects on Queen and King Street in coming years, and I learned recently that several of these have been deferred to reduce overlaps and conflicts. The revised schedule has not been published, and yet this will be essential to any discussion of transit service through the Ontario Line’s construction period. These include:
Scheduled for 2023, but deferred:
King West from Close to Strachan.
Queen East from Parliament to River.
Queen East from Carlaw to Greenwood.
Queen at Degrassi. Revision to streetcar power distribution for Ontario Line. 2023, date TBA.
Scheduled for 2024:
Queen West from O’Hara to Triller. 2024.
Queen East from Davies to Carlaw. 2024 (likely during Metrolinx work at Degrassi underpass).
King West from Strachan to Spadina. 2024.
Bathurst Street from Queen to Front
Scheduled for 2024, but deferred:
King East at Church (intersection).
The City, TTC and Metrolinx owe everyone an apology for this cock-up, and a commitment to resolve conflicting schedules and publish credible plans as soon as possible.
At its meeting on February 28, the TTC Board will receive a report summarizing the status of most of the rapid transit plans in Toronto. This article condenses the TTC report and reorders some sections to group related items together.
Dominant among many projects are, of course, the “big four” provincial projects: Ontario Line, Scarborough Subway, Yonge North Subway, and Eglinton West LRT extension.
Project Status Overview
The effect of major projects elbowing everything else aside is clear in the table below. Some projects do not have in service dates because they are not funded, and the timing of that (when and if it occurs) will determine when various lines can open.
Not shown in this table are several major projects that pop up from time to time:
Bloor-Yonge Station Expansion
Waterfront West LRT from Dufferin to The Queensway
Bloor West subway extension
New Line 2 fleet and yard at Kipling (Obico yard property)
Sheppard East subway extension
Platform Edge Doors
Of these, only the Bloor-Yonge project has funding, and some are only a glimmer in various politicians’ eyes.
Prologue: When I started to write this story, John Tory was still Mayor of Toronto and the dynamics of City-Province relations assumed he was in charge. The context for these discussions was soon to change.
The Toronto Region Board of Trade holds a yearly “transportation summit”, and on February 8, 2023, this focused on the Greater Toronto Area’s transit, plans for the future, and the aftermath of the covid pandemic.
The TRBoT is no wild-eyed radical institution. The regional economy and businesses are at the heart of causes it advocates.
Both in the introductory remarks and in comments by speakers sprinkled through the day, the economic effect of traffic congestion was a mantra. This sets the framework for the importance of both transit and road projects, depending on who is speaking. The latest factoid describing Toronto’s problems is that we have the third worst congestion in North America and the seventh worst in the world.
A problem with this hand-wringing is that there is little acknowledgement that some particularly bad locations are related to major infrastructure projects such as the Gardiner Expressway rebuild and various rapid transit lines. Moreover, goods movement has severe problems in areas that historically have poor transit and show little chance of seeing any in the near future. No single project will solve the problem of many-to-many trips patterns that now depend almost totally on roads and private vehicles.
Metrolinx plans along several of its corridors have provoked community opposition and proposed alternative schemes, but Metrolinx has been quite intransigent about “just getting things built”, the mantra of the Ford government at Queen’s Park. Opposition is not merely steamrolled, but is painted as anti-transit, out of touch, and nimbyist in preventing the wider population from enjoying the benefit of new transit lines.
This does not endear Metrolinx to many groups (and they stretch well into the 905, not just central Toronto), but Metrolinx does not care. For them, it’s all about managing the message. Most communities just roll over and give in to an unstoppable force trying to make the best of a bad situation. “Consultation” amounts to picking the colour of the tiles for a bathroom reno, and hoping that the contractor actually installs the ones you selected.
Several sites along GO corridors and the Ontario Line have been subject to tree clearing either to open construction sites, or to remove trees that will conflict with electrification infrastructure. A small grove at Osgoode Hall, although far from the largest area Metrolinx has cleared, received much publicity because of its location. The northeast corner of Queen and University is a park beside one of Toronto’s oldest buildings, a green space complementing the square at City Hall just to the east and a more recent arrival, Campbell House, to the west.
Although the park was owned by the Law Society of Ontario, the portion Metrolinx requires was expropriated for the Ontario Line. The community around Osgoode Hall (a mix of the legal profession, the local BIA, residents and heritage advocates) convinced Toronto Council to undertake a review of Metrolinx plans in comparison with alternative designs that would preserve the treed parkland.
This report was produced by a consulting firm, Parsons, and was posted on the City’s website on February 4. It exists in two formats:
An interim injunction, in force until February 10, paused the felling of trees at Osgoode Hall for a time. Other locations have not been as lucky, nor have they had groups like the Law Society capable of taking on Metrolinx.
An important distinction for this site is that it also contains a heritage building, and there are concerns for potential damage Osgoode Hall might suffer from the overall construction plans. However, the injunction itself only applies to the trees, and it is not clear whether the wider issue of construction effects will form part of the broader argument when the application is heard.
Among the legal issues will be whether a heritage site with mixed ownership (the Law Society, Metrolinx and Ontario) can be treated as “indivisible” for the purpose of heritage preservation so that one owner, the LSO, can prevent changes on property of another owner, Metrolinx. There is also the question of whether Metrolinx can even be bound by an injunction as it is one of many agencies that are exempt from many provincial regulations.
An interim injunction pauses work until February 10, with possible extension, pending further review.
The Parsons report commissioned by the City was published at the last moment, and was seized upon by Metrolinx to justify commencement of work on the same day as the injunction hearing.
Parsons concurs that the Metrolinx proposal is the best of those analyzed, but suggests that an alternative using the Campbell House site should be studied in more detail.
The Campbell House option would effectively displace the house from its location, and it is doubtful that it could return in as harmonious a setting as it has today.
Parsons does not afford the same treatment to the Osgoode Plaza proposal even though this is the major contender among the alternatives.
The City’s inaction on the proposed Osgoode Plaza is an (almost) missed opportunity to make the new station and the intersection into a major site downtown. If this is to be pursued, prompt action by the City is needed so that Metrolinx could adjust their construction plans accordingly.
If City Council, and most importantly Mayor Tory, are serious about an alternative to the Metrolinx plans for Osgoode Station, they should proceed as quickly as possible to endorse the Osgoode Plaza scheme and work with Metrolinx to adjust construction plans for Osgoode Station on the basis of road space on University Avenue that the plaza will free up.
In the presentation accompanying the report, the Osgoode Plaza option is shown first, and it is dismissed for various reasons notably the absence of detailed studies because the City has not yet embraced the proposed reconfiguration of University Avenue. Rather than recommending that the potential of this scheme be examined in greater detail, Parsons rejects it. This effectively prejudices the report to endorse the Metrolinx scheme as the only viable option, with a faint hope alternative that is worse than the original.
The full list of closures begins on p 13 of the report. There is a variety of full weekend, early closing and late opening events (check the legend to the chart).
There are fewer Line 1 closures in 2023 due to ATC (Automatic Train Control) than in 2022 because the main work is complete. However, there is a follow-up phase that will require some weekend closures for testing and implementation. Other work affecting Line 1 includes repair of station finishes on the University subway, elevator installation at Lawrence, various track replacements, and preliminary work at Finch for the Yonge North Subway Extension.
On Line 2, there will be work at Kipling to add a new storage track, preparatory work at Kennedy for Scarborough Subway Extension, preparatory work on the east end of the line for ATC installation, and some track replacement work. As usual there will be several late openings of service on Sundays for beam replacement on the Prince Edward Viaduct.
Many closures involve only an early shutdown of subway service to give a longer overnight maintenance window than would be possible with normal hours of service.
There is a long list of events for the streetcar system, but many of them are short interruptions of overnight/weekend work for inspections or minor repairs.
The major trackwork planned in 2023 is listed both in the report (starting on p 19) and on the TOInview map of City construction projects. The schedule implies that a good chunk of the streetcar system will be shut down at various times during the year. The Ontario Line contributes some of this to the Queen car, but the long-suffering riders on King do not get a break either after years of work at King-Queen-Roncesvalles. Note that Adelaide from York to Victoria is a Metrolinx project and so does not appear in this list.
Some of the dates in the TTC list do not align with info on TOInview. This is very common.
Parts of the schedule simply do not make sense. Some projects have far more time reserved than they should take based on past experience. Some projects will block the routes from carhouses in the east end to the rest of the network either via Queen Street or via Coxwell and Gerrard Streets, and times for these overlap.
Update: The TTC confirms that planned work on Gerrard Street will not occur at the same time as projects on Queen will block access to Leslie Barns and Russell Carhouse. See the map at the end of this section for a graphic view of the planned work.
Details of the Broadview Station Loop expansion are not yet available, nor is it confirmed whether this will actually occur.
I hope to get clarification of what is going on from the TTC.
Feb 27-Mar 26: King Street West from Close to Strachan
Mar 10-Oct 29: Dufferin Loop
Mar 24-Nov 28: Queen Street East from Carlaw to Leslie & Leslie to Greenwood
Mar 31-Apr 7: Intersection of King & Church
May 1-Nov 29: York from Queen to Adelaide (Ontario Line diversion)
May 6-July 8: Intersection of Lower Gerrard & Coxwell
May 6-Nov 21: Russell Yard
May 14-Nov 8: Broadview from Gerrard to Broadview Station
June 18-July 29: Intersection of King & Parliament
July 30-Nov 18: Metrolinx work at Queen/Degrassi overpass
Sept 3-Oct 2: Broadview Station Loop
Sept 7-Oct 29: Queen from Parliament to River & Davies to Broadview
Oct 8-Dec 16: Oakwood Loop
Oct 16-Feb12: St. Clair West Station Loop
The report does not list specifics for 2024, but info already appears on the TOInview map. It is not clear how some of this work will interact with Metrolinx Ontario Line construction at King & Bathurst. There is a proposed track and lane realignment at Bathurst & Fleet, but it is not clear whether this will actually occur, or if the planned work is simply replacement of existing special work as is. Details of the Spadina Station streetcar loop expansion are not yet available.
St. Clair & Yonge
St. Clair & Bathurst
Queen St. W from O’Hara to Triller
King St. W from Strachan to Spadina
King & Queen (Don Bridge)
Bathurst St. from Queen to Front
Bathurst & Queen
Bathurst & Fleet
College St. from Bay to Yonge
Main & Gerrard
Russell Yard (continuing from 2023)
Expansion of the streetcar platform at Spadina Station Loop
Update: The following map was included in the staff presentation to the Board on January 19, 2023.
This map contains several geographic errors:
The project labelled Queen & Yonge points at King & Spadina.
The project for St. Clair & Bathurst is shown east of St. Clair West Station rather than west of it.
The project for St. Clair & Earlscourt is shown well west of Lansdowne rather than east of it.
Carstops on Queen East at Wineva and at Waverley are shown as west of Kingston Road rather than east of it.
The project for Queen & Jarvis is shown well west of Yonge.
The project for Fleet Loop actually points to Exhibition Loop.
There are a few more, but my point in cataloguing them is that this is sloppy work and it speaks to the quality of information presented to the Board by management.
Gradually, and several years behind the original target date, the TTC has converted overhead wiring designed for trolley poles first to a hybrid pole/pantograph configuration, and then to pure pantograph style. A map of the current status was included in the staff presentation.
There are some problems with this map which is based off of a track plan that is itself out of date. “Wrong way” track has been removed from the one-way streets downtown, although it still appears here. Also, some work is underway on King West even this is not shown with the orange “in progress” colour. The intersection of King & Shaw had already been converted to Hybrid format when I visited it a month ago. (There are other errors in the map, but please don’t bother commenting with fixes.)
One amusing relic is the legend “Hillsdale Ave” on Lake Shore Blvd West. This was the site of a long-removed wye, the last in the system, and the street is called “Hillside Ave”. “Hillsdale” is in North Toronto.
Again, this is an unfortunate example of how the “official” records of the system are out of sync with actual conditions in the field.
The Province of Ontario is not exactly transparent when it comes to reconciliation of announced project costs and actual spending, let along the changes that might occur along the way. A project, or group of projects, might be announced with a value in then-current dollars, and without necessarily including all future contract costs. There are various reasons behind this approach including:
The government does not want to tip its hand on the amount of money “on the table” to prospective bidders who might tailor their bid to the perceived level of funding.
Some contracts include future operating and maintenance costs as well as capital costs. In some case the announced cost does not include the O&M component, only the estimated capital portion.
Provincial projects are typically quoted in then-current dollars with future inflation to be added as it occurs, at least to the point where there is a contract in place which includes that provision.
This approach hides the likely as-spent costs and makes provincially run projects appear cheaper, at least in the short run.
This is fundamentally different from the way the City of Toronto tracks projects and how TTC requirements are reported. Specifically:
City project cost estimates include inflation to completion because this is factored into future funding requirements.
City projects do not bundle future operating costs with capital, but report them separately.
Note that cost estimates shown in the Infrastructure Ontario market reports do not necessarily match values shown by Metrolinx because IO shows these values on a different basis. Future operating and financing costs are no longer included in IO estimates so that a project’s value reflects only design and construction costs, a value that gives potential construction bidders a general size of the project’s scope.
Infrastructure Ontario notes on the November 2022 Market Update that we have modified the methodology used to calculate the estimated costs as presented on the chart. In May 2022, and for Market Updates prior to that, we used the Estimated Total Capital Costs. For the latest update, and going forward, the costs listed only include Design and Construction costs.
These changes were adopted after feedback from our construction industry partners found that including only design and construction costs provided them with a better sense of the scope of the project and would assist in determining if they wished to participate in the bidding process.
Email from Ian McConachie, Infrastructure Ontario, Manager, Media Relations & Communications, November 24, 2022.
This can be confusing with “bundled” projects such as the Ontario Line RSSOM contract which includes both provision/construction of vehicles and infrastructure, as well as future O&M costs. This is probably the reason, or a good chunk of it, for the very large increase in the RSSOM contract value between the initial estimate cited by IO and the contract award. However, the way these contracts are handled generally makes it impossible to know how much of the change is simply due to inflation in materials and labour costs, and how much is due to underestimates or scope changes.
Some of the changes in this update are quite substantial.
The North Civil, Stations and Tunnel contract previously included both the tunnel segment from Gerrard north to the Don River, the bridge over the river, and the elevated structure north to Eglinton. This has now been split into two separate contracts.
Elevated Guideway and Stations
Pape Tunnel and Underground Stations
Each of these projects is shown with an estimated cost of $1-2 billion, compared to $3 billion for the combined version.
In May 2022, the North Civil contract execution date was July-Sept 2024.
The Elevated Guideway and Stations contract is now shown in two stages with the Development Phase Agreement (DPA) in Jan-Mar 2024 and the Project Agreement (PA) in Jan-March 2025.
The Pape Tunnel and Underground Stations contract is now shown with a DPA of Jan-Mar 2024 and a PA in July-Sept 2026. [Corrected]
There is no indication of the effect these changes will have on the opening date.
The Rolling Stock, System Operations and Maintenance (RSSOM) contract was awarded in November 2022. In previous updates it was estimated at “>$2B” (greater than $2 billion), but was awarded at a value of $9 billion.
The South Civil, Stations and Tunnel contract was also awarded in November 2022, In previous updates it was estimated at “>$4B”, but was awarded at a value of $6 billion.
Line 2 (Scarborough) Subway Extension
The Stations, Railway and Systems contract project agreement (PA) date was previously cited as Jan-Mar 2024, but this has been changed to July-Sept 2024.
The tunnel contract was awarded in May 2021 and is already underway.
Line 1 (Yonge North) Subway Extension
The tunnel contract Request for Qualifications issue date has slipped from Jan-Mar 2022 in the January 2022 update to Jan-Mar 2023 in the November update. For some reason, the estimated cost has gone down from $2-4 billion to $1-2 billion. I have asked Infrastructure Ontario to clarify this.
The Request for Proposal issue date was supposed to be Jul-Sept 2022, but is now Apr-June 2023.
Contract execution has slipped from July-Sept 2023 to Apr-June 2024. It is not clear what effect this will have on the planned opening date.
Eglinton-Crosstown West Extension
This project has four components:
The tunnel contract for the segment from Renforth to Scarlett was awarded in May 2021.
The tunnel contract for the segment from Jane to Mount Dennis closed its RFP process in November 2022. Award is expected in Jan-Mar 2023.
The elevated structure between the two tunnels is in a separate contract now at the RFQ stage.
The Stations, Railway and System contract has not been issued yet.
Lines In Planning
Three lines are in the planning stage only with one added in the May 2022 update:
Line 4 (Sheppard East) Subway Extension
Eglinton West Crosstown Airport Segment (new in May 2022)
All of the contracts for the expansion program have now been awarded, and they will not appear in the IO updates.