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The Globe and Mail

Planning Sheppard subway expansion will cost $7.5-million, adviser warns

It will take up to 18 months and $7.5-million to plan the expansion of the Sheppard subway line, says the man in charge of the job.

Gordon Chong, the adviser hand-picked by the mayor to make his Sheppard subway promise a reality, is looking for more money to keep the project going.

"The existing budget is woefully inadequate to complete the tasks of the working group," Dr. Chong said in a report updating his progress.

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Dr. Chong, a former North York councillor and past chair of GO Transit, told reporters Friday his office has applied for $250,000 in federal funding for "soft costs" to run his office.

A financial report for Toronto Transit Infrastructure Ltd., the TTC affiliate headed by Dr. Chong that is responsible for studying the extension of the Sheppard line, shows it has spent about $97,000 since March on salaries for Dr. Chong, a project manager and professional services.

Dr. Chong estimates it will take between $250-million and $300-million to do the required analysis and justifications for the $4.2-billion subway expansion, but stressed those funds will come from the private sector and the federal and provincial governments.

Councillor Janet Davis said details of Dr. Chong's work need to come to council, noting the city has already covered the bill for a $250,000 consulting contract. "It feels like this is a big black hole of wasteful spending," she told a meeting of the TTIL board.

Dr. Chong said he will report to council in the fall.

Councillor Doug Ford said his brother's election as mayor was proof that Toronto citizens want a subway and vowed to keep that campaign promise. "As sure as I am standing here, there is going to be a subway," he told Councillor Davis as the meeting ended. "I can't be any clearer. There is going to be a subway on Sheppard."

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