Council rejects 'value for money' analysis of $3B+ 1-stop Scarborough subway

Dec 7 2017, 5:11 pm

The $3.35 billion one-stop Scarborough subway extension was back at the centre of debate at City Council this week.

Councillor Josh Matlow requested that the city’s Auditor General’s work plan to include a “Value for Money” audit comparing the one-stop subway extension to the 7-stop subway LRT.

During the meeting, Coun. Matlow explained the benefit of the value for money analysis, but councillors did not seem to pay attention, and some talked over Matlow as he spoke.

“They won’t listen. They don’t want to,” he tweeted. “The facts may get in the way of the story they’ve been telling.”

“The plain fact remains, by voting no to what Councillor Matlow is doing, effectively what you are doing is saying ‘We don’t want to know,'” said Councillor Gord Perks.

Matlow has long supported further studies when it comes to Scarborough transit. In a letter to residents, he outlines the current funded plan to what was previously proposed. For the same City funding, Matlow said that 2 LRT lines could be built instead, one would have 7 stops using the existing RT corridor to link southwest Malvern to Scarborough Town Centre and Kennedy Station.

But Matlow’s request was voted down by council by 13-27, and Mayor John Tory voted against it.

“Council has voted against even looking at the most basic and relevant facts before deciding on the expenditure of billions that will affect so many people’s lives,” Matlow said following the vote.

Former Chief Planner of the City of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat, backed an analysis in a Tweet on Wednesday.

“For a capital project of $3.56B that continues to see cost escalations, there *is* a tipping point at which the cost-benefit analysis becomes questionable,” she said. “Responsible government would continually, honestly assess this question and have alternatives in hand.”

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