The Toronto Star is reporting that the St. Clair private right-of-way project’s costs have escalated to $95 million. However, reading between the lines, the blame for the escalation cannot be placed at the feet of the TTC.
When the TTC intially proposed that the tracks on St. Clair Avenue should be restored to their original private right-of-way condition as part of their scheduled maintenance, the project amounted to $7 million more than what had already been budgeted for the replacement of the tracks. The bulk of the project’s supposedly inflated costs include the cost of replacing the tracks — money which was earmarked by the TTC years ago. Since then, a number of other side elements have been imposed by the city which make it appear that the TTC cannot control its costs.
The additional $30 million are last minute costs added to the City’s 2006 Capital Budget by the policy and finance committee at the end of November. These include $15 million to bury hydro wires, $7 million for new streetlight poles, and $8 million for additional road resurfacing and sidewalk reconstruction. None of these relate to the TTC’s initial proposal, but are part of a concerted effort by the City of Toronto to refresh St. Clair Avenue while construction on the right-of-way continues.
One of the additional costs that can be directly associated to the project is the additional $2.7 million in unexpected legal fees incurred as a result of the community group Save our St. Clair’s challenge of the project.
In other news, Christopher Hume speculates on proposed amendments to the planning act, the municipal act and the City of Toronto Act and what this could mean to you.