Toronto Mayoral Candidates Anthony Furey, Brad Bradford
TORONTO — Torontonians are used to transit frustrations, but ongoing delays to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT have several residents beyond frustrated. In response to the delays, a few mayoral candidates have revealed their plans to combat this issue if elected.
Anthony Furey, one of the dozens of people vying to be the next mayor of Toronto, is looking for one billion dollars in damages for taxpayers. The former Toronto Sun columnist announced his plans Thursday morning outside of Union Station, saying that if elected he plans to sue Metrolinx for its contract breaches and failures in relation to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
“It’s been over a decade of this and the people of Toronto have politely accepted delay after delay, poor communication, gridlock, and harm to businesses along a major street,” Furey said.
“City council has been quietly accepting this shoddy performance, but it’s now time to get noisy and show that we won’t take it anymore. Someone has to protect the taxpayers and stand up for the people of Toronto,” he added.
The mayoral candidate said he plans to distribute any proceeds received from legal action to the various businesses and business improvement areas (BIA) located on Eglinton Avenue.
“Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and Metrolinx boss Phil Verster want to blame the contractors, but that won’t cut it,” Furey said.
“It’s their job to manage the contractors and they’re just not doing their job,” he continued.
Furey is also calling for an independent review of the various contacts Metrolinx signed with contractors to be carried out immediately.
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“Back in 2021, media and politicians went on a tour of the Eglinton Crosstown project and were told it was over 90% completed,” he said.
“Yet now we’re told they have no clue when it will open and have to redo some of the concrete. These constant delays are unacceptable, he added.
Mayoral Candidate Brad Bradford Speaks Out
Meanwhile, mayoral candidate and city councillor Brad Bradford is also speaking out about the Metrolinx delays.
“With Queen Street set to close on Monday for 5 years, Brad Bradford is calling for the head of Metrolinx to be held to account and for a provincial guarantee the Eglinton Crosstown chaos, dragging on with real costs to the people of this city, won’t repeat itself with the Ontario Line and kill a critical downtown artery and downtown vibrancy with it,” reads a statement from Bradford’s campaign released Thursday.
“If a head of a municipal division had the same record of failure as the head of Metrolinx, as Mayor I would replace them. I am calling on the provincial government to reign in this rogue agency and fire Phil Verster,” Bradford said.
“The people of Toronto deserve transparency for Metrolinx’s mismanagement of the Eglinton Crosstown construction and guarantees from the province this disaster will not be repeated downtown,” he continued.
Major Delays Revealed Earlier This Week
On Thursday, residents discovered there are currently 260 quality control problems facing the Eglinton LRT project. Officials were unable to provide a timeline of when the project was expected to be finished, pointing fingers at Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS), a design and construction consortium that was established to deliver and maintain the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
“I would love to be able to provide a date but that is contingent upon CTS delivering a credible schedule to Metrolinx, and as of yet CTS has not been able to do that,” Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney said during a press conference Thursday.
“I understand that conversations are going well and I can assure you that Metrolinx has been working around the clock to make sure that we can get to that point,” she said.
“My biggest concern is that the quality is right and we get a safe transit system. We are building infrastructure here for the next 100, 150 years, and we’ve got to get it right,” Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster added.
The LRT project began in 2011 and was initially meant to be completed by 2020. In 2018 the project had a budget of $11.78 billion, while the project is now expected to cost just shy of $13 billion.
Torontonians Share Their Frustrations
Many people took to Twitter to share their frustrations.
“Enough with the blame game! We need to hear honestly what must happen to get the Eglinton Crosstown in service and the real timeline for that,” reads a tweet from one transit user.
“I remember joking with a friend as I started my PhD, which do you think will happen first, I finish my PhD, or the Eglinton Crosstown opens? Feeling pretty good about my chances tbh,” a Toronto student tweeted.
On the other hand, some are voicing the opinion that the LRT construction did not have to turn out this way.
Meanwhile, others are pointing fingers at the premier.