Skip to main content

The Scarborough subway could be a poster child for the political hijackings of public transit. These preventable tragedies happen time and time again in Canada's largest city. The idea of serving the greatest number of commuters at the lowest cost is overpowered by politics, and replaced with schemes to spend more money on less transit, serving fewer people, more expensively.

This week, it was revealed that the cost of the proposed one-stop Scarborough subway continues to grow. On Tuesday, a city staff report pegged the estimated cost at $3.35-billion, up from $2-billion last year. The report says the final price tag could end up as much as 50 per cent higher. So we may be looking at a $5-billion, one-stop subway.

The staff report upping the price also reduced the line's low projected ridership; it expects to attract just 2,300 new riders a day.

Story continues below advertisement

Globe editorial: Scarborough subway: Damn the cost, full speed ahead

The Scarborough subway is illogical transit policy. Its only logic is political. Politicians, municipal and provincial, get to tell voters in Scarborough that they're getting a subway – even though most of Scarborough is far from the line and its solitary station, the cost of which is impoverishing transit elsewhere.

It's the legacy of Rob Ford. He killed a plan for a network of far less costly light-rail projects across the city, while swearing that voters in neighbourhoods in line for light rail instead deserved, "Subways, subways, subways!"

Six years later, all Toronto can afford is "subway" – singular, no exclamation point. The Mayor, the majority of city council, the provincial government and the opposition are all fine with that.

The one-stop Scarborough subway proposal was born after an earlier plan for a three-stop Scarborough subway proved far too costly. The three-stop subway replaced a planned seven-stop light rail line – which of course would have reached more people, while costing far less. The light-rail line was to replace the crumbling Scarborough RT – a earlier political boondoogle, barely 30 years old, forced on Toronto by provincial politicians desperate to find customers for a Crown corporation's shiny new train technology.

Faced with the latest budget escalation, we eagerly await this story's next twist. Anyone for a $7-billion dollar, no-stop subway?

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.