October 09, 2013

Toronto to convert Scarborough Line to heavy metro

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TORONTO City Council has voted by a majority of four to endorse reconstructing the Scarborough light metro line as an extension of the city's heavy metro, giving a political victory to Toronto's mayor Mr Rob Ford.

The Council also endorsed a 1.6% tax increase to help finance the plan, a concession running counter to Ford's pledge not to raise taxes in Canada's largest city. The increase will be made in steps over a three-year period.

"World class cities have subways from one end to the other," Ford told local media on October 8. "We have that opportunity to do what many people said could not be done."

Toronto's share of the project is estimated at $C 910m ($US 878m). Ontario province and the federal government have pledged financial support for reconstructing the line as a heavy metro and not as an extension of Toronto's light rail network, as favoured by many City Council members and, most of the time, by Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

It is still unclear how much it will cost to upgrade the line, and what the potential impact will be on TTC's contract with Bombardier for Flexity LRVs, many of which were destined for the Scarborough Line.

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