Metrolinx approved GO stations under political pressure: auditor general
Ontario watchdog finds city, former transportation minister used influence to push projects
Ontario’s auditor general has recommended the province conduct an independent review of two controversial GO Transit stations, after concluding Metrolinx inappropriately recommended the province build them under pressure from the former transportation minister and the city of Toronto.
In her annual report released Wednesday, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk concluded Metrolinx “undermined its own decision-making process and inappropriately changed its recommendations on the Kirby and Lawrence stations” in June 2016.
She also determined that over the past decade Metro- linx, the provincial Crown corporation, incurred about $ 436 million in additional costs as a result of politically motivated changes in transportation plans and shortcomings in how the agency manages light rail projects.
A provincial committee asked Lysyk in September 2017 to review the Kirby and Lawrence East stations following a Star investigation that found the ministry of transportation interfered to secure the approval of the stops, which were being advanced along with 10 other stations as part of a major GO expansion.
The proposed Kirby station is in Vaughan, in the riding formerly represented by Steven Del Duca, who was Liberal transportation minister when the stop was approved. Lawrence East in Scarborough is a key part of Mayor John Tory’s Smarttrack plan.
The site of the proposed Kirby GO station. Ontario’s auditor general found Metrolinx was under pressure to approve the site by former transportation minister Steven Del Duca.