Jul 17, 2013

By Scott Walker

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It’s a complex decision and Toronto city councillors are taking their time making it. The debate on a Scarborough subway extension enters its second day after becoming heated at times yesterday. At one point, Rob Ford argued  that a light rail transit would interrupt traffic flow, even though it’s widely known an LRT would use a dedicated, off-road right of way.

The issue is whether the city will commit to the added costs of scrapping the planned light rail transit line east of the Kennedy station and going underground. Those added costs are estimated at more than a billion dollars.

The debate has seen some changing allegiances, with left-wing councillors supporting Ford, and one of his prominent allies opposing him. Public Works Chair Denzil Minan-Wong is among the critics of the funding arrangement. He says the cost is being underestimated, and the city will be on the hook for a big portion of it. Minan-Wong also calls the subway plan a “vote-buying” exercise.

Opponents of the subway also say the number of users doesn’t justify the expense. And a subway would have fewer stops than the planned LRT.

Metrolinx has set August 2nd as a deadline for a decision by the city.

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