The first thing that we need in order to calculate transit costs with better optics, is having the private sector’s participation for, at least, part of the financing. For example, Vancouver’s Canada Line was built at a rate of $105 million per km (roughly 50% tunneled, and 50% elevated), and the private sector contributed with 1/3 of its financing. On the other hand, a similar project in Vancouver, the all publicly-funded Evergreen Line (roughly 20% tunneled, 45% elevated and 35% ground level) is expected to cost about $130 million per km, even though 4 of its 6 stations are already built. As soon as you remove the private sector, the budgets explode.
– Second, the current Sheppard subway cost roughly $140 million per km, and was opened 10 years ago. Inflation for the last 10 years have rose by 20%, so we can expect it to cost, today, about $170 million per km, which is almost in line to Metrolinx’s $177 M/km, as shown in TTIL’s report “Toronto Transit: Back On Track – page 11”.
– Third, the Spadina subway extension includes 6 stations that will cost altogether between $800 to $900 million, as currently proposed. If we replace these stations with simple ones at about $50 million each (the original design for the Sheppard West subway station was budgeted at less than $60 million – see https://transto.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/np-new-subway-costs-already-over-budget.pdf), we can save over $500 million, and that will automatically put the cost down from $306 M/km to $244 M/km. These subway stations costs can even be taken away from the equation if we just allow the private sector to develop right above it, which will bring the figure further down to $209 M/km.
– Fourth, when you have a subway construction program, like the one in Madrid, you’ll get significant economies of scale, by reusing boring machines, construction crews, engineering designs, etc.
– Fifth, the Eglinton Crosstown tunneling budget has been consistently increasing since it was presented only 5 years ago, from about $200 M/km, to about $500 M/km. See Eglinton LRT tunnel table at: https://transto.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/eglinton-lrt-tunnel-budgets.jpg. This shows that most politicians have no understanding of their proposed transit costs.