Toronto’s transport authority Metrolinx has big plans to solve their city’s congestion troubles, but the question remains, how are they going to pay for an ambitious list of proposed investments?
To better engage the community and help inform policy decisions, the authority has released an online interactive simulation where the public can select the projects they would like built and decide what revenue tools to pay for them. It’s called The Big Move. The revenue raising options include increased road, fuel and sales taxes, an increase in transit fares and a car parking levy.
However, according to The Toronto Star, City Mayor Rob Ford has dismissed a report delivered this week recommending that Council support the various tax hikes, saying that his constituents simply can’t afford it. Mr Ford believes the revenue can be achieved through cost cutting and bureaucratic efficiencies.
City Councillor and Toronto Transit Commission Chair Karen Stintz said that whilst she didn’t agree with all of the recommendations, she conceded the projects needed to be funded. However, Cr Stintz cautioned against using the parking levy as a tool, remarking that the impact on commercial centres and small businesses may not be not fully understood and could be detrimental to economic growth.
Metrolinx will release its final recommendations for funding tools on May 27. It says the region needs $2 billion annually to fund transit expansion.