City manager offers list of Toronto transit...
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Oct 01, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

City manager offers list of Toronto transit funding options

Matter will be going to the Oct. 9 meeting of Toronto’s executive committee

York Guardian

Toronto’s city manager, Joe Pennachetti, has given councillors a menu — complete with prices — of taxes, fees and other revenue sources that could be used to fund transit expansion in Toronto.

The list of possible fees was made public Monday, Oct. 1 in the October agenda for Toronto’s executive committee.

The report was one requested by Toronto Council earlier this year, in the wake of the defeat of Mayor Rob Ford’s plan to engage the private sector in the construction of a Sheppard subway.

While the report doesn’t add any new ideas for taxes, it does for the first time give a sense of what realistic rates of taxation might be, and how much they’d raise.

If the executive committee and Toronto Council approve the plan, it would then go out for public consultation, and a final report in the spring of 2013.

St. Paul’s Councillor Josh Matlow, an early proponent of looking at alternate revenue to pay for additional public transit expansion, said the report and the consultation that follows it are the start of an important conversation.

“It’s vital that we have this conversation,” he said.

“For too long we’ve had some people, including the mayor, say that we can have more capacity for transit. We need to have an honest conversation about that. We’ve heard very clearly from the province that they’re done giving us one-time funding applications. We’re fortunate to have the $8.4 billion that we have but if we’re going to move forward to have a downtown relief line or even other lines then we need to have serious conversations.”

The $8.4 billion is currently going toward Metrolinx-managed light rail projects along Eglinton, Sheppard and Finch avenues.

Earlier this year, a group of councillors led by TTC chair Karen Stintz advocated for a much larger expansion plan — paid for, they intended, by using increasing property assessment values to raise property taxes in gentrifying neighbourhoods.

The plan put forward by Pennachetti — or rather the options — doesn’t contemplate any single transit expansion plan, but rather surveys different possibilities for raising revenue.

The matter will be going to the Oct. 9 meeting of Toronto’s executive committee.

The report considers 10 options:

• Personal Income Tax levies of one per cent, which would raise $1.4 billion;

• Sales tax increases of one per cent, which would raise $1.3 billion;

• A one per cent property tax increase that would raise $90 million;

• A one per cent payroll tax that would raise $500 million;

• Highway tolls of one cent a kilometre that would raise $1.5 billion;

• A 10 cent fuel tax that would raise $500 million;

• A $100 vehicle registration tax that would raise $300 million;

• A parking levy of $365 a space, which would raise $1.08 billion;

• A one per cent increase in the Land Transfer Tax that would raise $600 million;

• Development Charges of $5,000 per unit, which would raise $200 million.

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