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Boarding call out for subway project

Campaign starts for Scarborough

Effort may clash with Spadina plans


The campaign for a full-fledged subway to Scarborough leaves the station this morning. Councillors Brian Ashton (Ward 36, Scarborough Southwest) and David Soknacki (Ward 43, Scarborough East) will ask passengers boarding Scarborough Rapid Transit trains at Scarborough Town Centre this morning to sign a petition headed: Give us a Scarborough Subway.

They’ll be out again tomorrow morning at Kennedy station.

And Scarborough city councillors met yesterday to plot a broad-based campaign to transform the aging Scarborough RT into a subway route.

The petition launched by Soknacki and Ashton urges the city, Toronto Transit Commission, and provincial and federal governments to work together to build a Scarborough subway. The RT line is expected to wear out by 2015.

Building a Scarborough subway, at a cost of up to $1 billion, could make it tough for the TTC to finance and build the proposed $1.4 billion extension of the Spadina subway line to York University at the same time.

“If a limited number of resources are available, of course there’s a conflict,” TTC chair Howard Moscoe � who’s also a North York councillor � said.

Moscoe said the Scarborough RT would take priority because it’s an existing service, but there’s no guarantee it would be replaced by a subway.

“It could go in as a busway, it could go in as a streetcar or light rail, it could go in as a subway,” said Moscoe (Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence).

Richard Soberman, a consultant hired by the TTC, told Scarborough community council last week that building a subway line could cost $100 million to $150 million per kilometre. The existing line runs 6.4 kilometres. The RT could also be replaced by buying 40 buses at $750,000 each � a total of $30 million � and running them on their own roadway.

Ashton insisted there’s no conflict between Scarborough and York University transit lines.

“We can live off the RT for a number of years, continue with York and begin to plan for this extension,” he said.

North York Councillor Maria Augimeri said neither line will be built without money from the senior governments.

Which line should be first?

“I would say York because it’s been in the pipe for such a long time, and we have environmental assessments already done,” Augimeri (Ward 9, York Centre) said. “But I don’t believe Scarborough must be put on the back burner. There are two front burners on every stove.”