Update: City Seeks Feedback on Transit Funding Options
Toronto residents will get a say on how the city and region should pay for improvements to public transportation.
City council's executive committee is sending a report from the city manager on how to pay for transit expansion off for public consultation that could begin late this month or early next month.
Joe Pennachetti's report outlined 10 ways that could generate cash for transit, including a regional sales tax, increased income taxes, road tolls, a parking levy, and a 10 cent a litre gas tax, among other options.
In approving the city manager's request to send the report off for public feedback, councillors on the executive committee also voted to add other options for consideration, including public private partnerships, HOV and express lane tolls, and congestion charges.
"The people of this city are taxed to death and they don't want any more new taxes," says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
"I've made it quite clear, I'm not going to support anything unless the taxpayers of this city come out and say they want a new tax or a new user fee. I don't see them saying that. I could be wrong. That's why we're having the public consultation process."
Ford prefers to see new transit paid for through public private partnerships.
"You see it around the world. It's already happening."
"(Public private partnerships) can be viewed as a way of reducing the costs or in effect indirect funding, but it really isn't a funding source per se," says city manager Joe Pennachetti.
The exact dates of the public consultations aren't known, but it's possible they could begin in late October or early November.
With many of the possible funding options targeting drivers and homeowners, Councillor Denzil Minann-Wong wants to make sure those people know what's being considered.
"If you're going to ask about revenue tools, you have to be clear and specific about them," he says. "You have to ask the people that are going to pay for those taxes whether they are prepared to pay for them."