Tag Archives: City of Toronto Act

Merging the TTC and GO under GTTA control?

The Toronto Star, CityTV (Breakfast Television) and other media outlets are reporting that the TTC maybe “high-jacked” by the Liberal Government of Ontario, which may have been secretly planned all along. Rumors are flying high that the TTC may be taken over by the Government of Ontario and merged with GO Transit, under the umbrella of the GTTA (Greater Toronto Transit Authority). Many have believed that this would eventually happen, since the TTC has become so large and important to the welfare of the GTA that it may have become just too large for the City of Toronto to handle. Of course speculation is that this may have been their plans all along. Many have wondered, for a while now, why the province was so adamant on expanding the TTC into Vaughan, and beyond, when it seem illogical for Toronto to care on managing transit into the other regions of Toronto. Greg Sorbara, one of the proponents of the plan, tied up funds to ensurCity Halle that the expansion into Vaughan took place. If this is the case it may have simply been the master plan of the province. Now the Liberal Government has a majority and there would be no stopping them from doing this. Of course this is only rumored, however one has to wonder if this was not the plan, than why bother with the GTTA? The Metropass has passed the mythical bar of $100, now costing $109 dollars. With the TTC complaining about funding, almost every year, the province may simply believe that the TTC is just too much for the City of Toronto to handle, removing control of the Toronto symbol from David Millers hands.

Ironically, moving the control of the TTC to the province would allow Toronto to better balance their books, now that council passed the new taxes. In some ways it would seem that the province may have been waiting for the results. Or it maybe a simple choice of choosing what they feel is best. We know that the Liberal government, although they promised, has not uploaded services that were downloaded during the Mike Harris years. What would happen if the province simply decides to take control of the TTC, covering all costs and leave everything else as is? Would, removing the TTC from Toronto’s books balance the budget? It definitely would help, however how would service be affected? Would the province run the service as is, or run it like GO Transit? Would they merge services with GO Transit? Would they start Zone fares? Would you be able to jump on the “GO” and then to the TTC seamlessly? There are hosts of unanswered questions. Or, is it time for the TTC to simply grow up?

TTC StreetcarThe TTC is a Toronto icon, from the storied streetcars of yesteryear to the way the subways were originally created along Yonge Street. I will not go into a rant about the TTC not being able to innovate and change the way they do business. The TTC, unlike other transit systems across North America, receives little Federal funding for operating costs. However, at least the Federal government did kick in the needed funding for the extension of the subway to Vaughan (ill-conceived, but done nonetheless). If this really does happen then some of the moves the government made, along with their promises for Move2020, would make sense. What we should debate is whether this is a good idea or a bad one? I am not sure if this is a good or bad idea, but do not be too quick to jump on the bandwagon? Does the province understand the needs of Malvern, King Street West, Don Mills, North Etobicoke or the Beaches? What about those routes that do not make a lot of money? Will they be continued or operate like other jurisdictions? Do they think streetcars or buses are more important? Do they care to support the “Transit City” initiative or Subway expansion? What does this mean for the YRT and VIVA? How about Mississauga Transit? These are all unanswered questions, which Torontonians, and GTA residents, should think about and want answers to. What maybe good for Markham, Vaughan, Mississauga and others, may not be good for Toronto, and so visa versa. The debate on merging the TTC with GO, and surrounding systems, has been going on for years, with pros and cons on both sides. This was not on the table during the last provincial election; however loosing the TTC may be the evolution of progress or the greatest public transit “coup” ever conceived by the Province of Ontario.

Read more news from the Toronto Star Article, below.

Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario

Miller takes tax package proposal to the people

Are you still unsure where you stand on the Mayor’s tax package? If so, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hear the arguments for and against the land-transfer and vehicle registration taxes today.

read more | digg story

What does this election mean for Toronto and David Miller and taxes?

I am sure that David Miller, and all of the city councilors, were watching the election closely. Essentially, Torontonians have decided to put Dalton McGuinty back in power, but voting overwhelmly for Liberals in various ridings. An interesting note is that NDP voters seemed to be concentrated in the downtown areas, where David Miller’s support is strong. A pattern is forming that may need NDP support spread to other ridings. On the other hand in some areas, that might not be possible, with vote splitting between the NDP and Green Party. Now what does this mean for Toronto? Well, it means that David Miller and city council will probably have no choice but to increase taxes and implement new user fees on Toronto tax payers. He took the “City of Toronto Act” bait and now, with such a majority, Dalton McGuinty has no obligation to do anything about downloading. But, the oddity is that Torontonians do not want higher taxes or fees, but they want more service? So, what does this mean? If Torontonians wanted to send a message to Dalton, supporting the bad financial situation for Toronto, then it would have been heard. However, the message sent was that they like the Liberals and the status quo. This means Toronto is in the middle of a rock and a hard place! If Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals re-nag on provincial downloading, I am sure there will be a swelling of ground support for David Miller. If David Miller is smart, he should use his NDP support for a new campaign for 2011. Now the question remains, will David Miller consider a run for the leadership of the NDP?

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

David Miller and Toronto City Council stuck between a rock and a hard place

Miller experienced a major blow to his leadership when city council voted to put off making a resolution about the land transfer tax and the completion of a vehicle registration levy. In an ironic twist I predict that city council will have no choice but to support David Miller. Wait a minute, wasn’t that obvious? Although I am neither for nor against the tax increases, Toronto at this point simply has no choice or alternative. After years of raiding city coffers and reserve funds, Toronto is simply almost bankrupt. What is unfortunate for the councilors who voted against the tax increases are that the fact that they were essentially hoping for a change of government, on the provincial side. Blame for the entire sad state of affairs in Toronto can be equally levied on various levels of government; however I feel that David Miller unfortunately took the Dalton McGuinty bait. The ‘City of Toronto Act’ really allows the provincial governments to have David Miller do their dirty work. Added to the fact that Toronto’s finances have been badly managed over the last 4-5 years, city council will have no choice but to approve the unpopular land transfer tax. A question has to be asked of those councilors who voted against the plan as to their absence on pressing the Liberals, NDP and PC party for support of their cause. Although there has been some movement on uploading, there have been no specifics. Promises will not pay the bills in Toronto! And since these promises are coming from provincial politicians the question remains, can you trust them? Torontonians clearly don’t want massive service cuts or tax increases, but the question has to be asked and put to the people. Where will the money come from? How much more will we cut? Are there anymore areas for Toronto to make money? Have they tried everything?

The dangerous part to this whole equation that has not been looked at is the ‘City of Toronto Act’ itself and its implications for the future. What will happen when they run out of money again? Will they go begging to the province? I do feel that there has been waste. The purchase of TTC subways, without a tender and the cost overruns on city contracts. The various buildings the city still owns and renovations at city hall. There are others, but they are debatable. What David Miller and council maybe failing to see is that, albeit these are small items, in the eyes of Torontonians, every dollar saved counts. Once people see and feel that they have done their part, then we can move on to others. In some regards David Miller will need to stick firm to his agenda and move forward on the tax increases, however I hope he has heard Torontonians and not only those in the posh areas of Toronto. I do not want to remember the Mayors that had great plans, but did not finish them, like the Queen Subway and other ideas. His plans for the City of Toronto and the Transit City plan are admirable. If he is able to pull it off and actually change the city into something different, history may end up being kind to him. What will that legacy be? David Miller, at this moment, echoes what we should all feel. Do not depend on the Provincial or Federal governments. They are politicians and liars. So in that regard he has decided that Toronto must learn to stop crying over spilt milk and just take care of itself. Maybe in the end we should just be another province or territory in Canada, to fix our problems. However, I will leave that debate for another day.

By Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario