Monday, December 12, 2005 - Streetcar plan soars to $95M

Well The Star was a bit slow on the uptake on this story. By the time they published the story about the "surprise" bump in costs for the St. Clair W. streetcar right of way:

The Star - Dec 12th 2005

it was almost time to publish the story about how Council reversed itself on the issue:

The Star - Dec 13th 2005

If you are are wondering what really happened, read:

Sue-Ann Levy's column in The Sun - Dec 13th 2005

Ms. Levy is quite correct - it's one big shell game - with Messrs. Moscoe and Miller being the chief shiesters.

Hmm. Are we starting to see a pattern here?

asks Levy. Well, yes we are - but it's not a new game. The same tricks were used to push ahead with the Spadina LRT. An examination of the history of the Spadina LRT project reveals that the original EA on that effort projected the cost at $74.33 million - including $34 million for the purchase of new vehicles. Justification for the project was partly based on a financial assessment that the "LRT" alternative was the lowest cost (when capital costs were included.) By the next year (1989), the planned cost of the project had grown to $117 million - without the purchase of new vehicles! In other words, construction and related costs swelled by $77 million once approval had been given.

Surprise, surprise, the financial justification was never revisited.

The rules of the game are clear: low-ball the initial estimates, ram the project through, and then hide the realities.