After an at-times rancorous day-long debate dominated by debate over the Scarborough subway, Toronto's Council voted by sizeable majorities for several of the key planks of the City's transit plan including the Relief Line, extensions of the Eglinton LRT to the east and west and the Scarborough subway line extension (SSE).

Scarborough funding mapHow Scarborough's additional transit might look if it is all funded Source: Neptis Geoweb

Relief line mapThe route of the relief line and two of the new SmartTrack stations envisioned by council Source: Neptis Geoweb

A motion by Councillor Josh Matlow would have scrapped that subway in favour of building an LRT along the original route but even its backers acknowledged during the debate that they did not have the votes to pass it and in the end it failed by 16 to 27, as did a similar motion by Councillor Gord Perks asking staff to evaluate the Scarborough LRT project alongside the SSE.

council voteThe vote on whether to scrap the Scarborough subway and re-institute an LRT to Scarborough Town Centre source: City of Toronto

At several points in the debate it was suggested that the cost of resuming a Scarborough LRT in place of the SRT which is reaching the end of its working life would be close to or even exceed the cost of the one-stop subway line. This despite the recent estimates that the SSE could cost at least $1bn more and would expect to carry fewer riders than was originally thought. Planning staff were reluctant to estimate but suggested that returning to evaluate a second Scarborough LRT line might take between one and two years.

The Mayor and planning staff both questioned Matlow's belief that the agreement originally struck between the province, the federal government and the city to replace the SRT with an LRT could be restored and would cover any increased costs that have emerged in the interim.

In addition to backing the SSE and Relief Line, Council also voted 24-19 to have City staff examine extending the Sheppard subway east to join the relief line, 28-15 to consider a subway link between Downsview and Yonge and Sheppard and 32-11 to consider extending the subway from Kipling to Sherway Gardens - all of these in the "second phase" after 2031. These would be added to a report on the second phase plans due in the first quarter of 2017.