As the municipal election draws closer, the Toronto Star is testing claims by mayoral candidates to see if they are realistic or simply off the tracks.

ROB FORD claims: The city can build 12 kilometres of subway as part of a $4-billion plan to be completed by 2015.

Smell Test: Of the $3.7 billion for Transit City, $790 million is pledged to York Region’s transit. Scrapping Transit City would mean paying penalties for cancelling its $1.2-billion streetcar contract.

Ford’s Sheppard tunnel and SRT extension means 18.4 km of tunnels and new track to build by 2015. To put it in perspective, the Spadina extension, to open in 2015, is only 8.6 km and construction has begun.

JOE PANTALONE claims: Pledges to keep Transit City alive.

Smell Test: The province has told Toronto to accept funding postponement.

Also, a kilometre of new subway costs about $300 million, whereas a km of light rail costs between $60 million to $100 million, not quite “five times less than subways,” as Pantalone’s campaign claims.

GEORGE SMITHERMAN claims: A subway and light rail network can be rolled out in two phases over 10 years, for $17 billion.

Smell Test: The bulk of Smitherman’s first phase is already in the works. The Spadina subway is slated to reach York University by 2015, construction is underway on Sheppard and tunnel-boring machines for the Eglinton LRT will arrive next year. His plan to replace the Scarborough RT with a subway is unrealistic. The design of the current Scarborough RT prevent it from being recycled for a subway.

City can build 2 km of subway and a new station yearly for the next decade, at about $4.5 billion — funding from asset sales.

Smell Test: An expert puts Toronto Hydro’s total worth at $1.5 billion — only half of what’s needed.

Rossi’s $225 million/km projection may be low: The TTC estimates the Spadina subway expansion will cost $300 million/km. Rossi’s schedule of 2 km per year is realistic.

SARAH THOMSON claims: City can build a 58-km subway network over 10 years for $14 billion.

Smell Test: TTC officials say a kilometre of subway costs $300 million to design and build — $100 million more than Thomson budgeted. It would take four boring machines 18 months to build Eglinton. A bigger subway would need more trains ($13 million apiece), more operators and more cash for maintenance.