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Toronto is throwing billions into a hole in the ground.

John Bell

December 13, 2022
A new reportsays that a long-overdue transit line is also more than a $1 billion over budget (now almost $13 billion and counting). Despite two years of delays, the report says the project has “no credible plan” for opening. 
The Eglinton LRT was envisioned to to be part of a network of above-ground rapid transit lines that would revolutionize public transportation and relieve traffic congestion.
On the day he took office as mayor, Rob Ford scrapped the project, and “redesigned” the Eglinton line as a partial subway. At the same time he took construction, and the future of transit in the GTA, out of public hands and gifted it to corporations. They called it a “public/private partnership (P3)” but it was privatization by stealth.
The erosion of public service has been compounded by Ford’s successor, John “Mr. Rogers” Tory.
It was accomplished with the connivance of the Ontario’s transit agency Metrolinx, which in turn handed construction of the Eglinton line to Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS). This is a consortium some of the country’s biggest construction and engineering corporations: Ellis Don, Aecon, SNC Lavalin, the IBI Group and financial partner ScotiaBank. There are 28 companies involved in CTS – that is a lot of forks in the pie.
Meanwhile, people living and working along the Eglinton corridor have been suffering in construction zone hell for over a decade.
Thieves fall out
As cost over-runs and delays pile up, the Metrolinx/Crosslinx alliance is breaking down into finger pointing and potential legal action.
Crosslinx is demanding more money and time to finish the project. Metrolinx says that some of the work Crosslinx claims to have completed is not up to standards, and could constitute health and safety dangers for transit riders. They point to tunnel seepage and mould, and unsafe curves. Testing of completed track has revealed many failures. They call this “ongoing underperformance”.
CTS has issued more than $250 million in unpaid claims to Metrolinx, and as a result refuse to commit to a revised timeline or budget.
By the way, profits for all the major CTS players are looking very rosy. SNC-Lavalin’s most recent quarterly report shows revenue up over 8%. Aecon’s revenue in 2021 was $71.8 billion. And Scotiabank posted a profit of $10,174 million (banks are very shy about using the “b” word).
Expansive corporations with multiple projects and investments, it is hard to say specifically how much they are raking in from the Eglinton project, but you can count on 3 things: 1) It is a lot; 2) It isn’t enough for them; and 3) Ontario and Toronto taxpayers are picking up the tab.
And if the Eglinton line is ever completed, the corporate payday isn’t over. The same P3 bandits are at work on 3 other subway megaprojects in the GTA.
So the news for Toronto commuters is bad, and bound to get worse. 
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