Bombardier Flexity tram for Toronto.

CANADA: A series of Toronto Transit Commission capital investment projects valued at C$548m and scheduled to start in 2012 or later are to be deferred to protect the city’s credit.

The Commission agreed to the action at its October 29 meeting, although Chairman Adam Giambrone, who is also a city councillor, stressed that the programme is being delayed rather than cancelled.

Among the rail-related projects affected are:

  • Installation of debit and credit card ticket machines in subway stations;
  • The station modernisation programme (the Pape and Dufferin stops will be completed as scheduled);
  • Delaying from 2019 to 2024 the installation of lifts to make all stations accessible;
  • A study of the Downtown Relief Line, a new metro route to provide additional capacity into the central core.

Not affected are capital plans for 2010 and 2011 which include the Spadina subway expansion to Vaughn, the first three lines of the Transit City light rail network and the purchase of 204 trams from Bombardier. Funding totalling C$10bn for those projects has already been committed by the provincial and federal governments.

Toronto's debt service charges must not go above 15% of revenues to prevent the city being placed on a credit watch. Approximately half the municipal debt is already contributed by TTC and more capital spending would push the total over the limit.