Metrolinx prepares for legal battle over Eglinton LRT project

The consortium building the project says the agency is causing them significant delays and costs.

A rendering shows part of the design of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project. – City of Toronto

Key Takeaways:

  • Crosslinx Transit Solutions is taking the province to court over the $12.81-billion transit project.
  • The consortium alleges that Metrolinx has failed to officially retain an operator for the line, causing major delays and costs.
  • Metrolinx has fired back saying it plans to defend itself and called the move a “delay tactic” when the team should be focused on delivering a detailed schedule for completing the project.

The Whole Story:

As the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project in Toronto nears completion, the consortium tasked with delivering and maintaining the line announced its plans to take Metrolinx to court. 

This month Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS) said in a statement that it has filed a notice of application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice aimed at Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario. The consortium alleges that Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, has failed to retain an operator for the unfinished transit line, causing significant delays and costs. 

“CTS has been forced to take this step after months of engagement with Metrolinx about the challenges to the project as a result of Metrolinx having no signed Operating Agreement with the TTC (despite having a decade to do so),” wrote CTS in a statement.

The consortium – which includes ACS-Dragados, Aecon, EllisDon and SNC-Lavalin – explained that it is seeking to be treated fairly so the nearly completed project can wrap up. 

The notice is asking the court to find that Metrolinx has an obligation to enter into a contract with the TTC as the intended operator of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and bind the TTC to a contract consistent with the project agreement.

A detailed map shows the route and stations for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project. – Metrolinx

“At this late stage of the Eglinton Crosstown project, with construction more than 98% complete, and testing, training and commissioning underway, the TTC is able to make requests and provide input at any time, including at a late stage, that go beyond CTS’ contractual responsibilities,” said CTS. “Metrolinx has refused to manage or take ownership over these late changes requested by the TTC despite the undeniable continual impact on the project schedule. This has resulted in delays to the project outside our control and significant cost overruns which the CTS has continued to incur.” 

Phil Verster, Metrolinx president and CEO responded to the filing calling it “another unacceptable delay tactic” and said CTS should instead be working on submitting a credible project completion schedule. 

“While Metrolinx is driving and supporting CTS to complete the project, CTS is looking for new ways to make financial claims,” said Verster, adding that CTS’s behaviour “continues to be disappointing.”

Verster explained that Metrolinx and the TTC have been working collaboratively for years to get the Eglinton Crosstown LRT ready for customer service, but now require a schedule that describes how they will complete the testing, commissioning, safety and quality rectifications of the rail line.

CTS fired back saying they were disappointed with the characterization of their actions as a “delay tactic”.

CTS stated that rather than cause delays, their action seeks to remove existing barriers to completion. 

“Every single day our team at CTS continues to work diligently, despite the many challenges to deliver a safe and reliable system to the people of our city,” officials said.  

“It is not tenable for CTS to continue working towards shifting standards, requirements and goalposts of project completion.”

Crosslinx Transit Solutions

CTS noted that it has not suspended or stopped any work on the project, however, they are asking the courts to find that CTS is not obligated to continue working on the project while the issues between Metrolinx and the TTC are resolved. 

“It is not tenable for CTS to continue working towards shifting standards, requirements and goalposts of project completion,” they said. 

Verster said that Metrolinx plans to defend itself in cour and that the cost of CTS’s delays are for CTS to bear.

“Metrolinx is already withholding significant payments for poor performance,” said Verster. “We will continue to hold CTS to account and examine every remedy under the Project Agreement to ensure the project is delivered to a high quality and that it is safe and reliable to open.”


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