Saturday, July 9, 2016
Toronto Mayor John Tory Pledges to Support Some 'revenue tools' Later This Year
Transit doesn’t come cheap.
And it certainly isn’t free says John Tory. So council will have to pay for it with new taxes, the mayor said, speaking candidly to the Toronto Sun about his plan to pay for 15 years worth of transit construction.
“I will come forward and it will be this year, calendar 2016, with my own thoughts,” he said on the so-called “revenue tools” he favours to raise the cash.
Tory has promised property taxes will remain at or around the rate of inflation. But he’s not ruled out a slew of other measures including a hotel tax, alcohol tax or entertainment tax for example. All of the options have been explored in a report from accounting firm KPMG which goes to council this week.
“It will be largely focused on long-term stuff,” Tory said his eventual plan. “These are not meant to be remedies for short-term issues.”
In all, council has a $29 billion capital shortfall for promised city projects, including Tory’s SmartTrack transit plan and the downtown relief line.
Tory also said he’d like to get a third-party review of the costs of those projects, and the Scarborough subway, to ensure the estimates are accurate. City staff have said that with only 5% of planning and design work done on the transit projects, their multi-billion dollar price tags could escalate by as much as 35%.
“I think you need to get someone who is totally objective and ask them to look because I’m optimistic there’s a chance you could actually bring the cost down for beginners,” he said. “And then whether it went up after that because time goes on, I can’t say. I hope not.”
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