Tuesday, April 2, 2013

From the horse's mouth - how to pay for transit expansion across the GTA

Metrolinx Releases Short List of Proposed Investment Tools for Consultation

TORONTO, April 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Metrolinx has released a short list of investment tools for consultation that will help decide how transit expansion is funded in the years ahead.
Metrolinx is developing an investment strategy to help finance The Big Move and the next wave of projects including the Downtown Relief Line, the Yonge Subway Extension into York Region, new rapid transit in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton, new bus rapid transit corridors in Halton, Peel, Toronto and Durham, and major changes to the GO Transit rail network, municipal transit projects, roads and highways and green transportation options, such as cycling and walking.
Metrolinx examined over 25 investment options—strategies and investment tools to fund transit—that are used in other jurisdictions and received input through a series of 12 round table meetings with residents across the GTHA on ways to fund public transit.
"We want to continue our conversation with municipalities, stakeholders and the public to help us deliver our investment strategy," said Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig.
Metrolinx is considering the following investment options for additional consultation:
  • Development Charges
  • Employer Payroll Tax
  • Fuel Tax
  • High Occupancy Tolls (HOT)
  • Highway Tolls
  • Land Value Capture
  • Parking Space Levy, including pay-for-parking at transit stations
  • Property Tax
  • Sales Tax
  • Transit Fare Increase
  • Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (VKT) Fee
"At our round table meetings, we heard that there is wide recognition of the problem of congestion and there is impatience for a solution," said Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig. "Participants want to see more transit and transportation expansion, they understand that this requires significant investment and overall they supported tools to build new transit and transportation."

Metrolinx is required to provide advice on investment tools to the Ontario government and GTHA municipalities through an investment strategy. The investment strategy, to be released by June 1, will provide funding options for implementation of The Big Move, Metrolinx's regional transportation plan.
Metrolinx is working to provide residents and businesses in the GTHA with a transportation system that is modern, efficient and integrated. Find out more about The Big Move at
SOURCE: Metrolinx


C.J. Smith said...

I started raging at transit increase. Hells no.

Squiggles said...


If they cleaned their own house (and I am included ALL Government of Ontario corporations and ministries, etc.) and showed that they could handle the money, then I would receive this news better.

Cut the waste, then ask for money. Don't think you can piss away millions and then hit up the taxpayers to fund your little pet projects.

April said...

Highway tolls aren't a bad idea. You want to encourage people to take transit, make them pay if they drive into the city. Maybe developmental charges - building outside the city, you should have to consider how people are going to get to their jobs in the city.

But fare increases, parking space levies won't work. They charge me much more and it won't be worth it for me to take transit.

ExGOnowTTC said...

*gagging sound* CASINO STUPID!

MATT said...

· Development Charges - What does this mean?
· Employer Payroll Tax - What? You mean make employers foot the bill to get employees to work in a more reliable manner? Hmmm....
· Fuel Tax – Is this somehow different than a sales tax or a VKT fee? How?
· High Occupancy Tolls (HOT) - What is this?
· Highway Tolls - I don't object to this, personally, depending on how it is implemented.
· Land Value Capture - What is this?
· Parking Space Levy, including pay-for-parking at transit stations - As stated in a previous blog, I don't object to this in any way. I'm probably in the minority.
· Property Tax - Property tax increase to fund transit? I don’t see the correlation.
· Sales Tax - On what? Unless it's a municipal tax, I can't see how this is fair. But then, which municipalities will have one, and which ones won’t? Who determines what municipalities are exempt?
· Transit Fare Increase - This is like death and taxes. People should not freak out so much about this. Fares will increase regardless. Might as well worry about things you have more control over.
· Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (VKT) Fee - Wait a this suggesting that someone tracks our mileage driven and each vehicle owner is then charged a proportionate fee to fund transit expansion? I can't see how this is a realistic method. What if you take long roadtrips, or any travel in which public transit is not an option? What if you have teenagers who drive the shit out of your car? Are cab drivers who put 500,000 kms on a taxi going to be subject to the same rules? How could something this broad possibly work?

Anonymous said...

Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (VKT) Fee already exists - it's called a gas tax.

This is ridiculous

Bicky said...

If the money raised actually went to transit and roads, well, I might get behind it. Unfortunately, Ms Wynne has inherited a FIBeral party that can't be trusted with our tax dollars. I'm loathe to pay any more.

Oh gee, a Metrolinx ad is on TV as I type this! How freakin' funny...

Flint said...

Everyone wants something for nothing, but public infrastructure is paid for from the public purse -- that's called being a part of functioning society.

I'm glad they're being somewhat transparent about it, at least.

If your line of thought is "Why don't we just increase services while decreasing taxes?! It's so simple!" then you may want to re-evaluate how you're engaging with reality. Something needs to be done, and the longer we, as a society, throw a tantrum in the corner and shriek at the notion of paying to develop services, the worse our infrastructure is going to get.

TT said...

Well I agree with you Flint, I think people here are complaining about how much of our tax dollars are being wasted in the name of transit. Take Presto as the prime example. $600 million dollars and what do we get? A vastly inferior technology that still does not offer the functionality we were promised when the project was proposed.

mumzthewurd said...

Parking + fare = gas + insurance + parking. If I have to pay either way, I'm not going to choose to ride while I am forced to listen to someone's phone call or music. I'll drive to work and come and go as I please, not according to Go's schedule

TomW said...

Re Matt:
* Development Charges - when build something new in Ontario, you pay charge to the municipality, who then use this to pay for the associated infrastructure. The idea here would be to increase the amount paid, and use that as a revnue source.
* Fuel Tax: we c8urrently pay tax on gas (and diesel) - this would increase that.
* High Occupancy Tolls: allowing people to pay a toll to access HOV lanes when they onyl have one person in the vehicle
* Land Value Capture: Example... (1) someone builds a subway near your propety (2) your propety value goes up (3) you sell property (3) govt taxes the extra value from the new subway
* Property Tax: your propety tax funds transit already - including most of the captial costs (new buses, for example).
* Sales Tax: basically PST is 1% higher in certain municipalities( you're right about the problems)
* Transit Fare Increase: you could increase transit fares 5-fold, and you still wouldn't generate enough for transit expansion.

TomW said...

Re: parking space levies...
This would be on commerical properties (not GO stations). Businesses would have an incentive to enocurage transit use, because then they can provide less parking.... providing mandated parking minimums are removed. (Example: big shopping malls would love everyone to take transit, because then they can convert those huge lots into profitable stores).
Alternatively, offices that provide free parking may start charging. ('Free' spaces could even be condidered a taxable benefit!)

TomW said...

Re: Squiggles... even if you got rid of the "millions" in waste you say exists, it wouldn't pay for the *billions* needed for transit expansion. (1 billion = 1 thousand million).

Squiggles said...


Millions, Billions, whatever. There is too much waste. They need to fix the basics before asking for more money from any taxpayer.

Bicky said...

Did you check out the Sunshine list? There are 262 Metrolinx employees who made over $100,000.

Too many agencies doing the job that ministries should be doing.

Anonymous said...

Don't you love the terminology?

First it was "revenue tools".

Now it's "investment tools"!

What's next, "prosperity tools"? "Happy joy joy tools?" "Orgasmatron tools"?

I'd prefer they'd just say it like it is: "everyone pays more" tools.

Anonymous said...

"There are 262 Metrolinx employees who made over $100,000."


Can them all and that's $26 million a year right there!

TomW said...

Squiggles said...
"Millions, Billions, whatever."

If you don't think there's any significant difference between the two, I can't take your comments on our province's finances seriously.

Squiggles said...

Re: "Millions, Billions, whatever."

I meant that we are dealing with serious money, doesn't matter the quantity. Whether it is millions or billions or trillions, it is more than the province can afford at this moment in time. Plus, if they can't balance/show some governance with a smaller amount, why should they be given more to play with?

Squiggles said...

Oh and Tom: maybe I am having a bad day or there needs to be a sarcasm/flippant font built, but you are definitely coming across as an a$$.

Ambs said...

MATT: "What if you have teenagers who drive the shit out of your car?" Haha! This is me exactly! My parents are already telling me to tone down on the driving because they're spending tons of money for gas right now, and it's only been two weeks. :(

I think the High Occupancy Tolls are a good idea! Also, they have numerous highway tolls in the United States, especially around New York/New Jersey. And isn't that like what we have on the 407 or whatever it is? 407/427/something like that...

And TomW, that's pretty good to know about the parking space levy thing! I mean, most bigger malls that I've seen have underground parking and parking garages anyways, but even just being able to convert floors of parking garages to stores might benefit them, however you do it...