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When council met in March 2017 to debate a one-stop Scarborough subway, they believed the cost was $3.35B - just shy of the $3.56B budget. But staff were discussing estimates over $4B — totals council and the public were never told ahead of an election: thestar.com/news/city_hall…
Staff presented the costs as $3.35B. Though they included other potential costs in a staff report, they never totalled them with the base — which became the number everyone used, including media. Tory, meanwhile, was preparing to run again for mayor promising to build the subway
But behind-the-scenes, staff were talking about totals that far exceeded the $3.35B number.

“Updated project costs are now $4.08B ($920 more than July)”
There were also two other internal documents that showed the latest estimate — before the March 2017 meeting — totalled at or over $4B:
For the first time this past week, staff acknowledged the estimate presented in March 2017 was actually $3.9B. Why? Several questions later they were asked how much the current costs were, based on further design. They now say the estimate is “just shy” of $3.9B
I don’t know why staff now decided to present it this way when they never did to council during a critical vote. But by doing this now, it avoids reporters like me saying “The costs have increased again by more than $500M...”
Very importantly, for those who were listening at council, staff also acknowledged that the subway estimate now exceeds the funds the city has available (by at least $300M). We still don’t know what some additional costs not included, like debt servicing, will cost
“I never had any sense whatsoever that it would be any more than the amount that they quoted,” former councillor John Campbell told me.

“If someone had told me $4 billion — hindsight is 20/20 — I’m reasonably confident I would say, ‘forget it.’”
We’ve also now *publicly* reached the point where former TTC CEO Andy Byford said council should rethink the whole project. He told @moore_oliver in December 2017 costs above the $3.56B budget “should then re-open the debate“ about subway versus LRT theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/s…
Which brings me back to this story, the first part of this new stuff from me. We were told $3.56B could get us a one-stop subway and a multi-stop LRT. Now we don’t have enough money for either, leaving Scarborough transit riders at the moment in limbo: thestar.com/news/city_hall…
Premier Doug Ford said he wants to build the three-stop subway instead, which was last estimated to cost $4.6B. It has not been advanced to 30% stage of design, so likely costs more than this. It is unclear what the city would be asked to pay thestar.com/news/city_hall…
The three-stop subway was a political pitch by both the Fords and Wynne’s Liberal government when they had already agreed to build an LRT to replace the still-aging Scarborough RT. If council had not scrapped the LRT, it would have been completed this year thestar.com/news/city_hall…
Council has never seen and never asked for a value-for-money analysis of the two options (despite efforts from @JoshMatlow). The evidence available shows the LRT would have served more people for less money and been built sooner. We’ll get more updates from staff this week /end
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