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New TTC transit plan includes property tax hike

TTC chair Karen Stintz has unveiled a $30-billion plan over 30 years to completely revamp Toronto transit, including 175 kilometres of linked transit lines.

“In my experience in council over the last nine-years, we have not had a council-endorsed transit plan. This is our attempt to bring that plan to council,” Stintz said Wednesday at Toronto City Hall.

The bulk of the OneCity plan would be funded by the provincial and federal governments, but Toronto homeowners would also see a property tax hike of about two per cent every year over four years. They would pay about an extra $45 in the first year and $180 in the final year, she said.

“Our hope is that if we come to the table with some skin in the game we can convince our other partners to also invest in transit.

“For too long we’ve talked about transit lines absent funding mechanisms. This proposal marries a funding mechanism to a long-term vision for transit,” Stintz said.

Reaction from the mayor was swift: Rob Ford called the plan “ridiculous,” adding that “taxpayers” hadn’t yet been consulted.

““No one told me about this and I will not support this. I guarantee it,” he said.

The property tax would cover about $272 million of the total $30-billion cost, which Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong estimated could be northwards of $100 billion. The money would only be used for transit, Stintz said, and would be kept separate from the city’s budget.

A member of Stintz’s team posted a map of OneCity on Twitter on Tuesday and a website outlining the plan went live Wednesday morning. Under the proposal, the number of subway lines would increase to six, and Toronto would see 10 new light rail transit (LRT) and five bus and streetcar routes.

The changes include replacing the Scarborough RT (SRT) with a subway and extending the Yonge line to Steeles Avenue.

Stintz and Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker, the TTC vice-chair, will ask city council to approve a staff study of the plan in July. If the study is approved, OneCity could come in front of council as early as October and face opposition from the mayor who opposes tax hikes.

“We are recommending that the Scarborough subway be the first line to be built. We want the subway to run from Kennedy Station through the Scarborough Town Centre and north to Sheppard Avenue,” De Baeremaeker said.

Metrolinx has committed $1.8 billion to the Scarborough line, De Baeremaeker said.

The existing SRT would still operate during the four- or five-year construction.

“You could close the SRT on a Monday and open the subway on a Tuesday,” De Baeremaeker said.

The OneCity plan would take 30 years to complete.

Last winter, Stintz led the charge for council to revive the Transit City LRT plan, quashing Ford’s bid to build subways.

Proposed routes:

  • Replace the planned Scarborough RT with a subway
  • Extend the Yonge subway to Steeles
  • Build a Sheppard West subway (Sheppard station to Downsview station)
  • Build a Don Mills subway line (Eglinton to Queen station)
  • Upgrade the Bloor-Yonge subway station
  • Build a Scarborough Express line (Steeles to Union Station)
  • Build a Etobicoke Express line (Airport to Union Station)
  • Extend the Sheppard East LRT line to Meadowvale
  • Extend the Sheppard East LRT line to Toronto Zoo
  • Extend the Sheppard East LRT line to Malvern
  • Build a Scarborough-Malvern LRT line
  • Extend the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line
  • Extend the Finch West LRT line
  • Build a Jane LRT line (Steeles to Bloor)
  • Build a Waterfront West LRT line (Union Station to Long Branch)
  • Build a Finch West LRT line
  • Build a Don Mills LRT line
  • Build a Waterfront East streetcar line
  • Build an Ellesmere BRT line
  • Build a Kingston BRT line
  • Extend the St. Clair Streetcar line (Keele to Jane)
  • Build a Wilson BRT line (Wilson Station to Keele)