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Province insists Eglinton LRT will be on schedule

The province is downplaying a TTC report that suggests the Eglinton Crosstown LRT will not be built until two years after the deadline of 2020.

Transportation minister Bob Chiarelli told reporters Wednesday the line will be completed on time and likely on budget.

“[Crown corporation] Infrastructure Ontario has completed about 54 projects over the last five or six years worth about $22 billion,” Chiarelli told reporters on Wednesday.

“They’ve virtually all been completed on time, a significant number of them under budget … Our position is that we’re working to a tight timeline. We believe that we will complete the [Eglinton Crosstown LRT] in time.”

A staff report released Tuesday said the crosstown line will likely not be completed until 2022-23, not 2020 as originally planned.  

It comes amid an announcement by Metrolinx saying Infrastructure Ontario — which uses an Alternative Finance and Procurement strategy — would replace the TTC as project manager.

Meanwhile, the TTC will hold a meeting Wednesday afternoon and the fate of the Eglinton LRT is expected to be on the agenda.

“If all the construction at the underground stations happened all at once, then the timeline would be met, but there would be a community impact,” TTC chair Karen Stintz said Wednesday morning.

“We want to make sure we’re minimizing the impact on the community.”

Chiarelli suggested construction will happen on several stations simultaneously.

“We believe there’ll be a number of stations that are being constructed at the same time,” he said.

“As these projects move forward, [Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario] will be working very, very closely with the communities where the action is taking place.”

The $8.4-billion LRT plan, approved by the province on April 25 and city council on Feb. 8, includes lines for Eglinton, Scarborough, Sheppard and Finch.

Wednesday’s meeting, which will be held at city hall, will also cover the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension. However, that part of the meeting is closed to the public.

The TTC meeting will look at the budget, including a report  from CEO Andy Byford, and the TTC pension fund.

Metrolinx officials are said they are confident the project will meet the scheduled completion date.

With files from Showwei Chu