The pedestrian tunnel to the Island Airport (Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport) will soon open. The cost has now ballooned to $92 million. This is the history.
In 2009, when the tunnel was first proposed, it was estimated to cost $38 million.
By January 2010 the cost had grown to $45 million.
In March 2012 the Toronto Port Authority, or Ports Toronto as they now like to call themselves, had completed the Environmental Assessment and construction was scheduled to begin. The cost then had grown to $82.5 million. It was estimated that the project would be completed in 25 months.
Now, a full one year late, the tunnel is about to open. The total cost will be $92 million.
Meanwhile, within days the Ontario Government will open the new Union-Pearson rail link, the UP Express, at the cost of $456 million.
This is more than a tale of corporate giveaways to the airline industry. It also reflects the lack of coordination or co-operation between governments. These two major projects, opening within days of each other, are each competing for business from the traveling public.
There is justification for the rail link from the downtown to Pearson, but the Toronto Port Authority is building the pedestrian tunnel to the Island Airport in a desperate attempt to protect and promote Porter Airlines because the airport is virtually their only source of income.
Supporting the Island Airport will bring pollution, congestion, noise, unwanted traffic and serious safety issues to the Waterfront and the central core of our city. Porter should relocate its operations to Pearson and take advantage of the UP Express.
Oh well, when the Island Airport closes and the land is turned into a wonderful park with housing, new public amenities, and recreational facilities, the pedestrian tunnel will be a quick and convenient way to get to the Island for the hundreds of thousands of new people living in the downtown.
Perhaps then, for the first time, we will thank the Toronto Port Authority.