In advance of upcoming public discussions the city has launched a special website allowing residents to determine how much they would be willing to pay to build future transit.
Through the CongestedTO campaign, the city hopes to generate sufficient feedback from residents to pass along to Metrolinx – the provincial transit agency seeking feedback from municipalities in advance of its final funding recommendations which will be presented to the sitting premier in June.
Like a similar website for Metrolinx’s own funding consultations, www.feelingcongested.ca asks users to select a combination of taxes and fees to determine how much the revenue gained from them will generate per year for transit expansion.
For example, selecting a one per cent sales tax increase, a personal income tax increase of 0.5 per cent and a vehicle registration tax of $50 would reach the $2-billion threshold Metrolinx says is needed annually to complete its 25-year Big Move transportation plan.
Business and civic leaders have said completing the plan is necessary to address worsening traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
Funding for some projects part of the Big Move was already allocated by the provincial government, including four new light rail transit lines for Toronto. But the vast majority of the plan remains unfunded, including a proposed city subway line the TTC wants built to relieve overcrowding.
To encourage participation, the city is giving away monthly TTC Metropasses, Green P parking passes, as well as AutoShare and Bixi bike share memberships,
An initiative of chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat, the campaign also includes four twice-a-day transit consultations starting Monday, Feb. 4 at the York Civic Centre.
Feedback from the consultation will be presented by Keesmaat to city council for approval in the spring, which will then be forwarded to Metrolinx.