Documents show costs for Ontario Line have doubled to almost $20 billion

The estimated cost for Toronto's Ontario Line has ballooned. Richard Southern with how it could become the most expensive subway project ever.

By Richard Southern

It could end up being the most expensive subway line in history as costs for the Ford government’s Ontario Line have almost doubled.

The long-awaited relief line that Toronto has needed is set to run from the Ontario Science Centre in the east all the way to Ontario Place in the west. When it was unveiled as part of a $28.9 billion transit expansion plan in 2019, Premier Ford said the Ontario Line would cost $10.9 billion to build.

However, new documents from Infrastructure Ontario show the cost for the 16-kilometre subway line has ballooned to almost $20 billion.

Connect 6ix, a collection of private companies, signed a deal with Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx to operate and maintain the trains and system for $9 billion – a contract that was originally pegged by the province at around $2 billion.

Earlier this month, the contract to design and build the stations and tunnels for the south portion of the line was awarded to Ontario Transit Group for $6 billion – up from what was expected to be a $4 billion contract.

There are still two more contracts to be awarded for the north portion of the line, expected to be between $1 billion and $2 billion.

“At at billion dollars a kilometre, this is a really sharp price increase, and a lot of people have said to me it looks like this project is coming off the rails,” said interim NDP leader Peter Tabuns. “I think the government does owe Ontarians an explanation, does owe this legislature an explanation as to why the costs have risen so sharply.”

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney acknowledged the rising costs, citing economic challenges with rising inflation costs and supply chain shortages.

“This is not unique to the Ontario Line. As this project moves forward, we will ensure that taxpayers get the best value for their money possible while continuing to deliver on much needed transit,” she said in a statement.

Construction of the new subway line began back in March and isn’t expected to be completed until 2031, which is four years later than originally planned.

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