VIDEO: One City Plan Officially Unveiled
They can start the process to create 170 km of new transit lines - from subways to LRTs - if you pay $45 more a year in property taxes. And that's just to start
The new One City Transit plan was officially unveiled at city hall Wednesday, with hopes of increasing property taxes to pool the money for public transit. The city would potentially also get the province and Ottawa to pony up some cash as well.
The first priority is creating a Scarborough subway with $1.8 billion of Metrolinx money. TTC-Vice-Chair Councillor Glen DeBaeremaeker says they could take the extra $484 million needed from the dedicated transit fund they're proposing.
Next on their list would be a Habourfront east LRT, followed by a handful of other projects: a North York relief subway line on Sheppard, a downtown relief subway line going from King or Queen Station to Eglinton then changing to an LRT up to Steeles and bringing the Eglinton Crosstown north to Finch. (The full plan is shown on the map above).
DeBaeremaeker says it's something which will help with an already at-capacity subway system.
TTC Chair Councillor Karen Stintz says the extra cash you would have to pay would be the equivalent of a 1.9 per cent property tax hike. By 2016, that would be the equivalent of an added $180 a year.
The plan still needs to get approved by council.
The plan was panned by allies of the Mayor
"It reminds me of my kids when they were younger going at Christmas to the mall to see Santa Claus," says Councillor Doug Ford. "They'd pull out the list and they'd want everything. In reality, they can't have everything."
He says the plan might as well have been "written on the back of a napkin with crayons" and thinks over time we'll see the $30 billion dollar price tag jump.
"It's about well over $120 billion dollars compounded year after year. They're talking today's dollars."
It was a concern shared by the president of the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.
"Our biggest concern is making sure that the figures add up," says Matthew McGuire. "We believe the numbers will go up."
But he's happy to see a long-term transit vision that includes subways.
Ford ally and Ward 7 Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti thinks it's right to think about long term transit needs, but it's wrong to put the burden on taxpayers.
"The federally government would probably come to the table with matching funds if there was a willingness to go with the private sector."
(With files from Russ Courtney)