The long-awaited Eglinton Crosstown LRT may be delayed yet again as the construction consortium established to maintain and deliver the 19-km rapid transit line threatens legal action.

In a brief statement issued on Tuesday morning, Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster said Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS) informed the government agency late Monday evening that they intend to litigate and stop working with the TTC, which will operate the transit line upon its eventual completion.

"This is another unacceptable delay tactic by CTS at a time when they should be submitting a credible schedule to Metrolinx for completing the project. While Metrolinx is driving and supporting CTS to complete the project, CTS is looking for new ways to make financial claims. CTS’s behaviour continues to be disappointing, especially for our Toronto communities who have been waiting patiently for the completion of this project," Verster said.

"Metrolinx will defend this latest legal challenge by CTS as we have done several times before. The cost of CTS’s delays are for CTS to bear. Metrolinx is already withholding significant payments for poor performance. 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."

CTS is comprised of ACS-Dragados, Aecon, EllisDon, and SNC-Lavalin. Verster did not provide a reason for CTS's decision to take legal action, but noted that Metrolinx requires a schedule that "describes how they will complete the testing, commissioning, safety, and quality rectifications of the rail line." He did not allude to how long of a delay the litigation is expected to cause.

Construction on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT began in 2011, and the transit line was initially expected to open in 2020. However, the $5.5B project has faced numerous delays -- including supply chain issues, "unpredictable defects," and a previous legal battle between CTS and Metrolinx -- that have left the anticipated completion date unclear.

When it eventually opens, the 25-station Eglinton Crosstown LRT will stretch from Kennedy in the east to Mount Dennis in the west, linking 54 bus routes, three subway stations, and three GO Transit lines.