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Vaughan politicians vow to keep Spadina subway extension on track
March 11, 2015
By Adam Martin-Robbins

Toronto Mayor John Tory mused last week - following reports the Spadina subway extension to Vaughan could run as much as $400 million over budget - that perhaps the red rocket could initially run only as far as York University. But that’s a non-starter for local politicians.

Transportation Minister and Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca has repeatedly said he expects the subway to run all the way to York Region, as promised by the TTC when the province invested $870 million into the $2.5 billion project.

“I think it’s very important that we get this project back on track, keep it on track,” Del Duca told media at Queen’s Park Monday. “The province has made an investment of roughly $870 million. That’s a significant investment and part and parcel of that investment is to ensure that this project is completed, which includes running up to York University and through York University into York Region. So we will continue to work with the TTC, the City of Toronto, and all of our other partners to make sure that the project gets delivered.”

Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua echoed those comments in an interview Wednesday morning.

“When we started this project, working in partnership, the rules of engagement were very clear: The subway was going to go up to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. I don’t see any reason why that needs to be changed,” he said. “I’m with the minister of transportation when he says that the work should continue as scheduled and every measure should be taken to expedite the conclusion of this project.

“We’re building a downtown core that is anchored to the subway. Public investments have been made from the region, from the province, from the federal government. And, as with any project, we all share in the benefits and risks.”

Announced in March 2006, the subway was supposed to open this fall. Now 2017 appears more likely.

Media outlets reported last week that the 8.6-kilometre, six-stop addition - which was originally expected to cost $1.5 billion and later ballooned to $2.5 billion - is “hundreds of millions” more expensive.

The TTC is expected to report to its board March 26 on potential opening dates and cost implications.

The exact amount it will cost to complete the extension hinges on what options are chosen.

The project has suffered setbacks almost since work began in 2010.

Construction started 16 months late due to funding problems, then was further delayed by issues tunnelling under York University and two exceptionally harsh winters.

Work was stopped at York for about six months following the 2011 death of construction worker Kyle Knox.

There have also been multiple issues with contractors and sub-contractors leading to myriad legal claims.

The Spadina subway extension is projected to add 30 million more trips annually to the TTC by 2021.