The little engine that couldn’t

Lisa Queen’s April 2nd article in the Vaughan Citizen is pegging York Region’s share of the recent cost overages of the York-Spadina extension to be $92 Million:
http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/5538075-york-region-s-tab-to-keep-vaughan-subway-on-track-could-hit-92m-more/

Budgeted at $2.6 billion The Toronto Star reported how the York-Spadina extension has gone $400 Million over budget:
http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2015/03/31/council-oks-150-million-deal-to-fix-spadina-subway-extension-plan.html

The province, which is committed to $870 Million of the project is not entertaining the notion of bailing out the two municipalities:
http://news.nationalpost.com/toronto/ontario-government-says-it-will-not-cover-85-million-shortfall-for-beleaguered-spadina-subway-extension/

So if the train has left the station on the then the obvious question is why is York Region’s CAO still on board?

According to this Toronto Star piece from March 26th York CAO Bruce Macgregor is co-chair of the executive task force overseeing the Spadina project: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/03/26/york-region-votes-to-help-pay-for-subway-shortfall.html

His take on the boondoggle:

“It is disappointing to us that this project has slipped off schedule and that it requires more budget funds,”

It’s a colossal fuck-up, and the co-chair is “disappointed”.

Why?

It’s not like he’s picking up the tab for the lack of oversight. No, that gets passed on to the rest of us.

74 per cent of the region’s share is expected to come from development charges, with the rest being funded through property taxes.

I thought growth was supposed to pay for growth, but when some ass-hat fails to do his job it can suddenly be tapped to keep things on track?

It’s as laughable as reading that the region had built in “some contingency” in the budget for cost over runs.

Of course it did, just not in the range of $400 Million.

Due to the complete absence of meaningful oversight York Region is now left with saddling future generations, starting next year:

“In the 2016 budget, we will be looking at whether we have enough in the development charge reserves or whether we need to issue development charge related debt,”

WTF?

We read from the Star article that Vaughan regional councillor Gino Rosati pushed council to think why cost overruns on infrastructure projects have become the norm: “Can these things be anticipated? If not, why not? We have seen it over the decades, there are always huge cost overruns,”

Macgregor admitted he was aware of the delay and cost overruns since last July when the TTC hired an outside consultant to review the status of the project but was waiting for the revised budget numbers to be confirmed before bringing it to council.

Completely unacceptable.

But what really pushes it over the top is for York’s CAO to shrug it off by saying:

“I spent a couple of days last week looking over the entire record of meetings to see if we could have anything different,”

And the answer is no?

Who in their right mind would reward this performance with six figure compensation that was recently disclosed in last year’s sunshine list, knowing full well they are prepared to repeat their failings in the future?

A commentor of the aricle zero’s in on the closing statement: “We are accountable.” :

“If you truly were you’d find out who dropped the ball and fire them. These 3 words that were uttered proves the value that they are worth, absolutely nothing.”

There’s no accounting for some politicians taste, and until they develop a taste for bringing projects in on time and on budget, which include a reasonable contingency, then we’re all along for the ride.

All aboard the failroad!

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