By the time a new council takes office, up to $250 million will have been spent. In contrast, our region’s contribution is $253 million. The remaining construction funding from the federal and provincial governments ($565 million) is contingent on actually completing the system, and would be withdrawn if we cancelled.
In other words, with $250 million in sunk costs and $565 in upper level funding, ION construction will cost the region only $3 million.
Cancelling after the money is spent to “save” that $3 million is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. The light rail tax increase is locked in, whether we have something to show for it or not. Except it might not be enough to cover all the costs of cancelling.
The work done so far is just part of a total of $739 million committed to contracts with Grandlinq, Bombardier and others. Cancelling those contracts will mean the Region’s lawyers negotiating penalties, and possibly being taken to court. When Ottawa cancelled their LRT project in 2006, it took over 2 years and $36 million to settle with the project partners. And that was before shovels were even in the ground.
No-one wants to speculate what the settlement cost of cancelling an under-construction LRT would be, because nobody really knows. It could be as much as $100 million. It will certainly mean that regional taxes will be more heavily burdened by cancelling ION than completing construction.
But kissing goodbye to $250-350 million is just the start. Read Myth 2 to find out how much more we’d have to pay for transit in ION’s absence.
- Mythbusting the election: Candidates said it, but can they back it up?
- TriTAG Election Candidate Survey: Find out where candidates stand on ION and transit!
- ION’s route, animated: Think it’s just a mall to mall train? Think again.
- ION Infographic: Find out the facts about ION, and how it will benefit you.