Four new joint GO train and SmartTrack stations are coming to the east end, the second transit pledge in as many days that the city will have to find money for by year’s end.
The stations on the Stouffville and Lakeshore East lines announced Wednesday will be built at the Unilever site near the Donlands, Gerrard Street and Carlaw Avenue, Finch Avenue East and also Lawrence Avenue East in Scarborough.
Mayor John Tory said the station build combined with the other big-ticket transit expansions currently underway or being discussed at city hall — including the Crosstown line, Scarborough subway and Downtown Relief Line — “are vitally important to the city’s east end.”
Fending off questions about how the city will pay for the transit-build out, Tory promised an “adult conversation” about new revenue tools would come after the city finishes debating new general revenue tools outlined in a KPMG report to council released Tuesday.
But Tory said the transit money will be found. “We don’t have a choice not to do these projects.”
Unilever site dubbed “East Harbour” with concept images pic.twitter.com/8gcMbyHCmn
— Mark McAllister (@McAllister_Mark) June 22, 2016
One project in particular — the one-stop Scarborough subway — has come under renewed criticism after its estimated cost went up by 50 per cent to $2.9 billion last week, and then $3.16 billion Tuesday after the city manager revised the price tag.
Compounding the cost fears, the hotly contested subway’s ridership projections were recently revised downward, to just 20 per cent of capacity during peak hours.
Tory again defended the expansion, saying that in 25 years “no one will be debating extending the Bloor subway to the east.”
He called the current subway cost estimate reliable, decrying earlier figures as “drawn out of a hat,” but wouldn’t guarantee the recent cost estimate won’t rise.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) June 22, 2016
In addition to the stops announced Wednesday, the city is also helping fund four GO station expansions in the west end, two of which will double as SmartTrack stops. That contribution is due by year’s end, and Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said the province is optimistic the city will be ready with its share of the bill.