Update on York-Spadina Subway Line Extension In Vaughan

York Spadina Subway Extension Vaughan

York Region may need to chip in another $92 million for subway line extension

The subway extension of Toronto’s York-Spadina line will eventually see trains serve a Vaughan Metropolitan station at Millway Avenue and Highway 7, but the project is getting costlier by the day. According to councilors in York Region, the project may cost up to $92 million more for the region due to additional funding. It’s believed the cost will now be $150 million higher than originally predicted and the work won’t be completed until December of 2017. Toronto’s share of the extra costs is pegged at $90 million and York Region is expected to chip in with another $60 million. However, local politicians are asking the federal and provincial governments for more cash.

More Funding Needed

York Region is already on the hook for $351.6 million and it now looks like it will be coughing up more funding for the delayed project. An additional $60 million was recently approved by regional council, but it needs to determine where exactly the money will come from. Treasurer Bill Hughes and CAO Bruce Macgregor have hinted that 74 per cent of York Region’s share of the costs will be generated through development charges and the remaining 24 per cent will be raised via property taxes. But it’s possible that a reserve account has enough money in it to make sure residents aren’t hit with higher tax bills.

In addition to another $60 million needed from York, the region may also have to cover another $32 million because of a shortage in the Provincial Move Ontario Trust. The Ontario government stated that it would hand over $1.059 billion for the subway project, which equaled about 40 per cent of the original estimate, but they fell short and paid just $870 million. The money was placed in the Trust and the province figured it would earn four per cent interest to cover the shortage. This hasn’t worked out though since weak market conditions have resulted in a shortage of up to $85 million.

toronto-york-spadina-subway-extension-vaughan

Too Late to Turn Back

Councillors are understandably upset that York Region is being asked for another $60 million, but realize they’re behind the eight ball because the subway extension has to be finished. Maurozio Bevilacqua, the mayor of Vaughn, said there’s not much of a choice as the region’s either in or out and he believes the council is in. The mayor added that there are numerous reasons the region agreed to the subway extension years ago and the council still feels the same way.

Councillor Support For The Subway Line Extension

Most of the councillors agreed they still support the funding of the project, but said they were pressured into deciding about the additional money without having the time to investigate how it would affect the region. Councillors John Taylor of Newmarket and Vito Spatafora of Richmond Hill said the news of more funding wasn’t a very nice surprise and he wished he was given more time to take it all in and do some more digging into the situation. He feels the councilors should have been given a couple of weeks before having to come to a decision on it.

Macgregor said his team needed an answer as soon as possible though if they hope to meet the completion date of December 2017. Bevilacqua added that the region didn’t have much of a choice and it will reap the benefits of the subway extension in the long run. The mayor believes that once a partnership is made it has to be honoured even if things don’t go as well as planned at times. Jack Heath, a Markham councilor, said York Region needs to let everybody know that the extension of the subway line reaches all the way to Vaughan or the partnership would certainly change.

How do you feel about the York/Spadina subway line extension?  Are the costs growing out of control?  How do you think Vaughan will benefit from the extension?

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