Capital Cost Escalation for Canadian Rail Transit Projects

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News

Jan 12
Hurontario LRT construction at Port Credit, showing push-box construction under the railway tracks and the excavation for the LRT station.

Cost escalation for rail transit projects in Canada is a growing concern. In a ground-breaking report in 2020, transit researcher Stephen Wickens tabulated the unit cost of completed and under-construction projects in Toronto and found a seven-fold increase since 2005, after accounting for inflation. Wickens presented this research at our Transport Action Ontario (TAO) Annual General Meeting on October 24, 2020 – see details and recording.

Wickens’ work has been picked up an amplified by others, who have raised similar alarms. In December, 2003, TAO raised this issue with Taylor Bachrach, MP and Transportation critic for the federal NDP. We agreed to send him a briefing note that can hopefully be used to initiate an investigation by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN).

The briefing note can be viewed below.