Apparently, the Sheppard subway extension is now going to open one station at a time

Apparently, the Sheppard subway extension is now going to open one station at a time

(Image: Christopher Drost) 

Turns out financing a subway extension is tough. Like, really, really tough. The Toronto Star reports that Gordon Chong, who Rob Ford assigned to hit up the private sector for funds to build the Sheppard subway extension, says shovels will be in the ground before 2014. But things aren’t panning out as Ford planned.

The Star has the details:

“Our project and plan is to go to Scarborough Town Centre, but we do it in phases, opening each new station as we’re ready,” Chong said. “The most important thing is that we get started in this council’s term.

“As long as progress can be shown, I think the mayor kept his promise.”

In last fall’s civic election, Ford promised something very different than work on a single stop. In his transportation platform, released on YouTube Sept. 7, 2010, the then-candidate vowed to extend the Sheppard line from Downsview station to Scarborough Town Centre—“about 12 kilometres and up to 10 new stations.”

What’s more, he pledged that the Sheppard line “will be completed and open before the Pan Am Games in (July) 2015.” The project was a key platform plank.

Shovel in the ground by 2014 and completed by 2015 aren’t exactly the same thing, so we’re going to go out on a limb and say that Ford probably won’t keep his promise (although, really, we’re unsure if Ford ever had a plan beyond demanding that this thing be built). What’s more, the high costs of burying the Eglinton LRT—another Ford project—are eating away at funds that were earmarked for the Sheppard extension, which could further complicate the project.

But while Ford is almost certainly bound to break this campaign promise, he might be able to salvage some political fodder if crews start digging by the time the next election rolls around (Chong practically says that the whole Sheppard plan is predicated on that idea). Sure, it would take some serious spin to convince voters that Ford has lived up to his lofty promises, but then again, this is the same man who convinced people the money saved from council snacks roughly equalled the money foregone from valuable tax streams.

Ford’s subway to crawl stop by stop [Toronto Star]