Design work on the Scarborough RT busway will continue despite nearly a $3 million shortfall

The TTC will continue design work on the planned conversion of the Scarborough RT right-of-way into a dedicated busway, despite a nearly $3 million funding shortfall that has put the project at risk of being scrapped entirely.

In a news release issued on Monday, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie confirmed that she met with TTC CEO Rick Leary last week and “secured his commitment for the TTC to continue design work on the busway within its existing budget” while the council awaits an update “on the total cost of the conversion by the end of the year.

The assurance comes after TTC staff told members of Toronto’s executive committee that work on the busway was at risk of being halted entirely without an additional $2.9 million in funding.

Members of the key city hall committee ultimately approved the project but formally asked Queen’s Park to help pay for design work.

The Ford government has not yet responded to that request.

“I will never stop standing up for Scarborough and ensuring residents have easy access to transit,” McKelvie said in the news release. “We’ve worked to make sure the work on the SRT conversion to a busway stays on track and will continue to fight to make sure we do everything we can to keep transit moving, frequent and reliable while the subway construction is underway.”

The Scarborough RT is set to be decommissioned in the fall, leaving its 35,000 daily riders without access to higher-order transit until the Line 2 subway extension is completed in 2030.

The TTC had planned to build a dedicated bus right-of-way along a roughly four-kilometre portion of the RT between Kennedy and Ellesmere stations as a stop-gap solution.

However, the fate of that project is now up in the air due to the funding shortfall.

In the release issued on Monday, McKelvie’s office said that all six city councilors from Scarborough wards are committed to ensuring the RT right-of-way gets turned into a busway and will be asking their colleagues to approve a motion to ensure the design work continues at a meeting of city council this week.

Staff have previously said that the presence of a dedicated busway along the RT corridor would reduce the trip from Scarborough Center Station to Kennedy Station by about 10 minutes each way compared to regular bus services.

The project, however, won’t be completed until at least 2025 and carries a $49 million price tag.

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