Yonge North Subway Extension Business Case: Less stations, but within budget

March 19, 2021
The Initial Business Case looks at three options for the subway extension that delivers on project objectives while staying within the C$5.6-billion budget.

Metrolinx published the Initial Business Case for the Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE), one of the government of Ontario’s priority transit projects. The scope of the eight-kilometer (4.9-mile) extension shows a shift east in the alignment and a reduction of the originally planned five stations down to four stations, depending on budget.

"As we continue to keep up with tremendous growth in Toronto and York Region, our government is delivering on our plan to provide people with access to faster, more reliable transit to get them where they need to go," said Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney. "The release of the Initial Business Case marks an important step towards our vision for a truly connected transit system that people in the Greater Toronto Area deserve."

Within the document, Metrolinx says it is “committed to delivering a YNSE that offers an optimized program within the available funding envelope” of C$5.6 billion (US$4.48 billion). The three options are estimated to carry total costs of C$4.3 billion to C$5.8 billion (US$3.44 billion to US$4.64 billion). However, Metrolinx explains none of the options can deliver the extension with five new stations within the project’s budget. Additional stations are estimated to cost between C$400 million (US$319.81 million) and C$500 million (US$399.79 million).

"We're so pleased to be taking this important step forward with the Yonge North Subway Extension and we're eager to get out there in the communities to share more details about how this important and much-needed project will benefit people," said Phil Verster, president and CEO of Metrolinx. "We know a fast, seamless subway connection between Richmond Hill and downtown Toronto has been envisioned for a long time, and we can't wait to make that vision a reality."

The Initial Business Case and supplementary analysis show how extending the Toronto Transit Commission Line 1 subway from Finch Station to Richmond Hill would improve regional mobility, help people travel faster and more reliably and support sustainable travel patterns and public health.

The Initial Business Case also recommends opening the Yonge North Subway Extension after the Ontario Line enters service as the Ontario Line is expected to provide relief to Line 1 and free up capacity for the Yonge North Subway Extension to proceed. The schedule included in the document estimates a contract could be awarded in September 2023 with construction starting in 2024 and the line entering service between 2029 and 2030.

Metrolinx will take the Initial Business Case to the public through virtual meetings and other engagement efforts shortly.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.