Not one damn dime more for transit

Posted By: Jerry Agar · 2/12/2013 7:04:00 AM

Here is my new slogan for how much more taxpayer money we should spend to build transportation infrastructure: Not one damn dime.

John Tory is correct that we need to build infrastructure to end gridlock, but he is wrong to assert that we need to spend additional tax money to get it done.

Tory, and Mitzie Hunter, both of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, wrote in the Toronto Sun last week: “Increasing numbers of leaders and residents alike know that as much as we still have waste to root out, the money we need now for transportation investment has to be raised and dedicated for that purpose alone.” Translation: Sure we know there is fraud, waste and abuse, but never mind that now. We have train lines to build. As if we can’t solve both at the same time.

Of course we could, but we would have to have in place people who were dedicated to rooting out the rot. We do not, so money is wasted in ways small and large.

Read more here.

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  1. Stephen Smith posted on 02/12/2013 09:03 AM
    Good to know you consider education a non-vital expenditure. If we were talking about you Gerry i would agree.
    1. Walter posted on 02/12/2013 10:22 PM
      @Stephen Smith The obvious cost prudent solution for education would have been to bring in all day Kindergarten for SK. After a few years determine is there was any benefit, and if yes, then consider it for JK.
    2. Sean posted on 02/17/2013 03:04 PM
      @Stephen Smith It was clearly wasted on you Stephen Smith.
  2. Richard Collins posted on 02/12/2013 09:52 AM
    There is a very simple solution to the TTC's spending woes. Think of every TTC employee you've ever seen not doing their job, sleeping in the fare booth, texting or reading while on the road, treating paying passengers like shit, leaving subway stations and bus stops a godawful mess. Now think of how much money would be available to improve infrastructure and services if those people received the pay cuts or outright termination they so richly deserve.

    When we get the unions out of our transit, we'll have room for things like honesty, accountability, and improvement.
  3. SteveB_10 posted on 02/12/2013 11:20 AM
    Jerry can not add. There is not enough waste to buy a streetcar and transit needs 2 Billion a year. Why dont you move to Afganistain where there are no taxes.
    1. Sean posted on 02/17/2013 03:08 PM
      @SteveB_10 Transit needs 2 billion a year? You need to get some math skills, budgeting skills, strategic planning skills and critical thinking skills. Post again when you have some more of your asinine thinking to display.
  4. Stephen Smith posted on 02/12/2013 12:38 PM
    Toronto doesn't even rank in the top 25 of cities in the world for transit. We get beat by Washington and Boston, cities not as big as ours. We have the worst commute times of 19 major North American cities. We have added zero track to our system in years while Barcelona adds 5 km or more a year, New York is in the midst of 3 major expansions of lines including an all new 2nd ave line.

    Gerry's not in favour of tax money for transit but how about road expansion, where do you stand on that Gerry? Perhaps its should be paid for with the same magic wand theory that Rob Ford has. The private sector will pay for it. Great go ask the car and oil companies for money for road expansion. Tell me when they stop laughing.
    1. lou posted on 02/14/2013 03:26 PM
      @Stephen Smith I have one way of paying for all the roads and all the transit we need.
      how about we take the money we allready are taxed on "gas tax-licence tax-plate tax" and so on that is suposed to be going to things like roads and transit and spend it doing just that.
      I for one would love to have a special tax on roads that I drive on when they stop taking MY money in the form of tax's then spending it on??????
      Then they can come to me and say you should pay for the roads!!!
    2. Sean posted on 02/17/2013 03:18 PM
      @Stephen Smith "while Barcelona adds 5 km or more a year"

      At what cost genius? Perhaps you want to consider the fact that Spain has bankrupted itself and its people and has more under capacity and un-needed transit infrastructure that anywhere else in the world.

      That said, Toronto could easily have been building subway extensions at a rate of one stop/1km per year with an under 200 million annual capital budget for this - a sum easily squeezed out of the current 9 billion dollar budget. Toronto's spending bloated from under 6 billion when Miller took charge to 9 billion. Miller was like Dalton, vastly increasing spending and all we got in return was more and higher paid civil servants with no service improvements. No need to ask for private partnerships - just cut back on the size of government and use the existing tax revenue for capital spending instead of on a bloated workforce of make work administrators who shuffle paper and spend their days looking for nonsense like shark fin soup to regulate.
  5. Walter posted on 02/12/2013 10:31 PM
    I am neutral on this issue. Ford has spent a great deal of time improving the efficiency of City Hall. Based on his example, we could be fairly confident that transit money would not be wasted in boondoggles. However the Councillors who insist they are in charge are reckless spenders who can not be trusted. Meanwhile provincially, there is even greater examples of waste and corruption.

    So maybe Mr. Agar is correct, with the current crop of leaders, we should not give them any more to waste.
  6. Only Common Sense posted on 02/13/2013 06:56 AM
    Jerry's quick fix is "cut out the waste and the 50 billion needed will magically appear."
    His point about waste has validity...
    his math misses the mark by about 49.9 billion.
  7. proton posted on 02/13/2013 08:58 AM
    The ideal way, which would also be the most respectful to hard-working, tax-paying citizens, would be to first root out fraud to the same levels found in well-run large corporations. Going any further than that would involve spending more resources than one would save.

    THEN go to the citizens and ask for more money if needed.

    Otherwise, they're forcing the taxpayers work harder and fork over more money while allowing fraud and mis-spending to continue. THAT shows utter disrespect for taxpayers.

    Ford largely gets it. Unfortunately most other politicians don't, reason being they're elected by people who want to maintain the philosophy of working less and making others pay more. A lesson in Current Affairs (Spain, Greece, etc.) obviously doesn't worry them.
  8. frank posted on 02/13/2013 10:48 AM
    Jerry Agar is right. We are drowning in gov. waste. Let the province and TO use a few dollars from the enormous $19K per person per year they are spending right now, too much of it wasted. Every single dollar spent needs to be weighed against transit expansion needs. For example:
    1. Does Toronto need a $15M police horse brigade more than it needs to spend $15M annually on transit? Why not rent the same horses for a few days a year for $5,000 annually and $150K over the next 30 years and spend the $450M saved over 30 years on our $30B to $50B transit expansion?
    2. Do we really need to spend $13K per student per year for an excellent education? Teachers cost only about $3K per student per year and the schools are built with developer fees, so we have about $9,000 per student per year in discretionary spending. Even $4,000 of this per Toronto student per year could fund all Toronto transit expansion over the next 30 years. Even if we couldn't save $4k, surely we could save $2K.
    3. For 2M Torontonians to raise $1 or $2B per year for transit expansion we can easily calculate that we need to raise only $500 to $1,000 per Torontonian per year from the $19K that Ontario and Toronto are currently collectively spending per capita per year. Easy Pesi.
    4. Healthcare, emergency services, roads, parks. All need a rethink, not to reduce services, but to reduce waste, duplication, and end counter-productive practises. We already spend more than enough to have the world' best transit. We've been suffering from poor disorganized mismanagement.
  9. Only Common Sense posted on 02/14/2013 06:41 AM

    Someone in the wannabe premier's office was listening to CFRB ... heard Jerry ramble on about how trimming waste would raise the money needed for Toronto transit ... and told Tim to make an announcement that... (wait for it) ... the money needed could magically appear by trimming the waste in government.

    Nice idea Tim ... take some bad math from right-wing Jerry and call it a workable solution. Prove once again just what a lightweight you are.

    At 6:15 am on Thursday, John Tory set the record straight (again) for Jerry and now for Whodat. This "idea" doesn't begin to make a dent in the reality of the Toronto transit requirements.

    Thank goodness there are still some Tories left with a lick of common sense.
    1. Jerry Agar posted on 02/14/2013 07:20 AM
      @Only Common Sense If you actually read my column you would see that I show how to get two thirds of the money right away. I don't know what you consider a "dent" in the money needed. And if we can't come up with $50 billion in 25 years, perhaps it will have to be done over 30 years. We have waited long enough, five years won't make that much difference if they just get on with it.

      BTW - anyone who reduces themselves to calling people names, as you did with Hudak - is just showing immaturity.)
  10. Darcy M posted on 02/14/2013 09:56 AM
    People like Gerry have no foresight. They talk and talk, only out of anger and resentment, all the while, missing the point completely.

    GErry. You are usual!!
  11. Peter posted on 02/14/2013 07:23 PM
    When I was a kid in the 70's the buses all had a sticker above the farebox saying partially funded by the province of Ontario.....or something to that effect. I don't see that anymore.
  12. CoffeeCon posted on 02/15/2013 04:56 PM
    Jerry is on this thing- this whole 'we don't have any more damn money for wasting!' thing that us poor taxpayers have been squealing about for the last 10 years.

    Love you Jerry, keep up the awesome.
  13. Rick posted on 02/15/2013 06:49 PM
    I dont know the numbers in Toronto but Transit costs in Waterloo Region are nutso for a community of 500,000 residents. According to recent figures sent to my door via Regional Propoganda, The biggest budget item is Police at $500 million for 2013 ie $1,000 per year for every man worman and child in the region. This is followed by ... transit - at $275 million or $550 per year for every man woman and child. Roads and road repair is a distant 3rd at $180 million ($360 each which is seeminly a bargin considering 100% of residents use roads, and only 5% use transit (even on the roads). Transit fares only recover 30% of the operating cost in the fare box! Worse yet - taxes are going to rise substantially because some leftist nutty councilors voted to spend $818 million on a 14 km long LRT system for this small community!
    1. CoffeeCon posted on 02/18/2013 01:56 PM
      @Rick disaster. sorry to hear about it- we need a southern-ontario transit authority, to eliminate all the regional bureaucracy down to the hourly labourers, something that can plan and make sense of it; something paid for by the government but not run by government.(unions). Hmmm, thats really the dichotomy, finding an interested party that won't just cut a bus route as soon as it becomes unprofitable- which is why we see these kind of costs on the public run system.. Hmm again..
  14. Chris posted on 02/19/2013 09:04 AM
    The point Jerry is making that before everyone demands more money in the form of fees and taxes, why don't we a) stop wasting it on the big things (eHealth, powerplant checkers, ORNGE), b) stop wasting it on the little things that accumulate into big amounts. I work on contract, and have seen the public sector in action. It's painful, as a taxpayer to see the abuse. Add it up, and the taxpayer is getting looted. Once they have their house in order, they can ask for more money. Until then forget it.
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