The Toronto Star is reporting that the Ford government has imposed a gag order on Metrolinx as the transit agency grapples with continuing delays in completing the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project. According to the Star, internal memos show there have been times when Metrolinx wanted to provide more information about the transit system, but were told not to by the Ford government. When construction stated on the project in 2011 the capital cost was just over $5 Billion. The latest cost estimate for the as yet unfinished line is nearly $13 Billion. In December Toronto media obtained a confidential memo that said thew Crosslinx construction consortium “did not have a credible plan to finish the LRT.” Once the construction is complete the project has to go through a testing and commissioning process that could take months more. It was rushing the testing and commissioning of the Ottawa LRT that was blamed for the multiple breakdowns of that city’s rapid transit system. The Star says internal memos show the Ford Government has told Metrolinx that all public statements on construction progress must be vetted by Queens Park.
The Star says the issue of muzzling Metrolinx is “raising questions about transparency and accountability at the provincial transit agency responsible for overseeing the project, as well as other multibillion-dollar transit projects across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.”
In the case of Hamilton, Metrolinx has purchased and demolished dozens of units of affordable housing at a time when the project is still being described as in the “design” stage by Infrastructure Ontario, who will be in charge of tendering the project. Once the detailed design is developed, the project will have to undergo a Request for Qualification process to shortlist potential bidders, followed by a Request for Proposals at which bidders would submit tenders. The tendering might no be complete until late 2024 or early 2025. Given the cost overruns experienced in Toronto, the $3.4 Billion assigned to Hamilton’s LRT is likely to be insufficient. At a recent meeting of the LRT subcommittee, at which no one from Metrolinx was present, staff told members that more information might be forthcoming later this spring and summer. At some point before construction begins, Hamilton Council will be presented with an operating and maintenance agreement, which will detail the amount Hamilton taxpayers will supply on an ongoing basis. Depending on the price tag there could be pushback from LRT sceptics on council.
” Depending on the price tag there could be pushback from LRT sceptics on council.” LRT sceptics? who?
To put a gag order on this mess in the Eglinton LRT operations is suspicious. Other hidden agenda to hide all bad news.We in Hamilton should not accept Metrolinx or infrastructure Ontario on this LRT project in Hamilton.Bad news travels fast that’s the reason behind Doug Fords Gag Order.
“Given the cost overruns experienced in Toronto, the $3.4 Billion assigned to Hamilton’s LRT is likely to be insufficient.” good thing the province and feds have guaranteed to cover any cost over runs for the construction of Hamiltons LRT. Toronto, K-W, Ottawa – all of these cities had to pay a portion of the construction costs. Hamilton got a sweet deal.