Funding a Transportation Plan & Relief Line

As mayor, Karen will establish a dedicated Toronto Transportation Trust under the authority of the Transportation Czar (Transportation for Toronto) to fund the City’s share of the Downtown Relief Line and other critical transportation investment priorities. This Trust will have access to more than $1.6 billion over 15 years from a mix of non-tax revenue unlocked from current City assets.

“I am the only candidate for Mayor that is talking about transit expansion and how we are going to pay for it. As a Councillor and TTC Chair I have always linked transit to funding, talking about one without the other is irresponsible. I have a track record on Council of getting support for funded transit expansion and the result is the LRT tunnel being built under Eglinton, and federal funding for a subway expansion into Scarborough.” – Karen Stintz, April 24, 2014

The Challenge – Funding Transportation Expansion

In 2012, Karen successfully petitioned the province to make the Downtown Relief Line a top priority under the Big Move.

Congestion is the number one issue in this campaign and the Downtown Relief Line is the number one transportation investment priority. Toronto has grown faster than its transit network, and residents see the result of this everyday on the Yonge line at rush hour.

Toronto needs a new subway line to relieve pressure from the Yonge line. This won’t just serve downtown residents, but all Torontonians. It will offer new service to growing and underserved areas, reduce crowding across the entire system, and provide passengers with more options.

The Downtown Relief Line isn’t a new idea – it has been on the books in one form or another for more than 100 years. If there were ever a time to get this done, it is now. The City can’t afford to wait any longer. To get Toronto moving, the City needs to build an efficient, well-integrated transit network, and the Toronto Relief Line is a necessary part of that plan.

As mayor, Karen is committed to establishing a Toronto Transportation Trust with dedicated revenue streams to pay for the Downtown Relief Line and other critical transportation priorities. Unlike others, Karen will not pit the suburbs against the core by playing the “shell game” of stealing committed or planned funding from other transportation projects like the Scarborough Subway or Finch LRT to pay for the Downtown Relief Line.

The Toronto Transportation Trust Funding Plan

As mayor, Karen will unlock value from existing City assets and refocus existing revenue streams from City parking and traffic enforcement operations to capitalize the Toronto Transportation Trust. These measures will raise more than $1.6 billion to be used for the Downtown Relief Line and other critical transportation priorities over a 15 year period. The revenue measures include:

1. $500 million from the sale of 51% of the City of Toronto’s shares in Toronto Hydro Corporation. This revenue figure is based on a conservative valuation of Toronto Hydro and could be more at the time of the sale of the shares to the marketplace.

2. $330 million by dedicating net revenue from current traffic enforcement operations to the Toronto Transportation Trust. These traffic enforcement revenues (which represent less than .2% of the City’s operating budget) are raised through fines levied against individuals who contribute to gridlock. It is only appropriate that this revenue (after all traffic enforcement expenses are paid for) is refocused on projects that reduce congestion and gridlock.

3. $700 million by dedicating the City’s share of net income from the Toronto Parking Authority (Green P) to the Toronto Transportation Trust. The Toronto Parking Authority has been providing the City with a steady stream of income through dividends and other cash distributions ($40 million to $45 million on average annually) that are better directed towards funding critical transportation priorities. This revenue stream represents less than one half of one percent of the City’s operating budget.

4. $114 million from a three dollar transportation levy on Green P garages in the downtown core of the City. Green P parking rates are significantly under market rates in the downtown core and the City can realize new incremental revenue to fund transportation infrastructure while still keeping Green P parking rates well under what other parking providers charge. There will be no increase in rates for Green P streets parking throughout the City.

The more than $1.6 billion raised through Karen’s funding plan covers the City’s $1.2 billion share of the first phase of the Downtown Relief Line and also provides an additional $400 million for other priorities like deploying the MARLIN traffic light system. These revenues will also continue to capitalize the Toronto Transportation Trust well beyond the first 15 years – revenue that can continue to be invested in strengthening Toronto’s transportation network.