To: Members of the Executive Committee
CodeRedTO strongly supports proposed revenue tools and changes in 2023.EX7.1, based on both our research and the work of other civil society organizations such as Move TheGTHA, CivicAction, Toronto Environmental Alliance, The Atmospheric Fund, and others. CodeRedTO has consistently advocated since 2011 in support of improved transit funding from the provincial government, and new city-controlled revenue sources, to protect and build our transit network for the future.
Modifying the cost of parking through Toronto Parking Authority and in commercial parking lots will better reflect the cost to the city of private vehicle congestion, and the measured approach and timing to these changes will allow ward-appropriate and context-appropriate changes. Carefully designed, a context-appropriate sales tax could net hundreds of millions in revenue per year according to city staff in 2021, significantly supporting city services.
Adding a municipal sales tax would enhance the ability of the City of Toronto to respond to economic activity taking place within its borders which is not subject to property taxes, diversifying its revenue sources and creating more budget resilience. Carefully designed to avoid a regressive structure, a context-appropriate sales tax could net hundreds of millions in revenue per year according to city staff in 2021, significantly supporting city services.
A restructured funding agreement with the province of Ontario for transit operations is vital, as new rapid transit lines add new costs not fully covered by farebox revenue. When opened, Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown and Line 6 Finch West will require new subsidies to unlock the improved mobility and economic activity they will bring, just as the TYSSE extension to York University and Vaughan brought both benefits and tens of millions in new TTC operations costs.
Additionally, pausing negotiation of further funding agreements for the Provincial Priority Transit Projects such as Yonge North (Line 1 extension), Scarborough Subway (Line 2 extension), Eglinton West (Line 5 extension), and the Ontario Line, and for any future provincial transit expansion project, is appropriate and urgent.
The transit network is the low-emissions economic and academic circulation system of our city and region, and enabling our healthy and sustainable growth through transit is critical for the future of our city and residents.
We urge the committee to quickly act on the city’s financial challenges, to repair and protect and then build our vital transit network.
Executive Director, CodeRedTO
CodeRedTO is a non-partisan, apolitical and volunteer transit advocacy organization. We have held public meetings with the TTC and Metrolinx in Etobicoke, Scarborough, York, North York and East York. We have presented at public meetings with both Councillor Carroll and Mayor Chow on transit funding and challenges. We have met with dozens of councillors over the last decade, along with deputy mayors, a Chief Planner, a Minister of Transportation, and a Premier. We have published detailed reports on public transit networks, finances, and governance. And we continue to be available for any member of council to assist with transit-related discussions at any time.