Transport agency to release report about transit systems

Madrid built 150 kilometres of subway between 1995 and 2007 for about $90 million per kilometre.



The Sheppard subway, by comparison, is about six kilometres long, took eight years to build and cost $200 million per kilometre.


That’s a difference worth exploring, says Metrolinx, the Toronto region’s transportation planning agency, though it acknowledges direct comparisons with European examples it studied aren’t fair.

The TTC is sending its own engineers to look at the Madrid subway this year. But chair Adam Giambrone is already rejecting England’s idea of using public-private partnerships to extend subways.

A partnership with the private sector could compromise quality and, in the long run, cost more, he warned. "Retrofitting subways is very expensive."

He said if the TTC had to negotiate a private-public deal to build the Transit City light rail lines it could delay the start of those projects, slated for 2009 and 2010.

Metrolinx’s chief executive officer, Michael Fenn, chair Rob MacIsaac and York Region chair Bill Fisch, who sits on the Metrolinx board, travelled to England and Spain in November to look at their transit systems. Their report on that trip, to go before the Metrolinx board tomorrow, isn’t meant to be authoritative or suggest any particular direction for the region, Fenn said.

difference in cost

  • A 2003 consultant’s analysis shows, all things being equal, the difference in cost between Madrid and Toronto is only about 10 to 20 per cent, said TTC chief general manager Gary Webster.