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The Globe and Mail

Sheppard subway partnership 'doable,' but up to $10-million extra needed

Two members of Mayor Rob Ford's executive committee hired Gordon Chong, a member of the mayor?s transition team, to head the Toronto Transit Commission?s consulting subsidiary without conducting an executive search or interviewing other candidates

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fed Lum/The Globe and Mail

The man charged with making Mayor Rob Ford's Sheppard subway plan a reality says a private-sector partnership appears "doable," but he'll need as much as $10-million more for technical studies, and another year, to know for sure.

Gordon Chong said his findings will be made public in February when they go to executive committee and city council. After that, his job will be done, he said, without the infusion of more money.

"City council is going to have to decide whether it is worthwhile proceeding," he said Monday, estimating it will take between $5-million and $10-million to complete the work required before bids are taken from the private sector. "It doesn't matter whether it comes from the city, the province or Ottawa. We need more money," he said.

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Dr. Chong said the private sector could cover between 10 to 30 per cent of the $4.2-billion subway project. "You will never, ever be able to get away from either government-direct funding or government backstop – ever," he said.

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