It seems the TTC can’t spend money fast enough.
While discussing the capital budget plan for the next decade, the TTC said that over the last 10 years the average annual capital expenditure rate was approximately 80 per cent.
The reason for this, according to the staff report presented during the board’s meeting on Tuesday, the TTC doesn’t have the time or the ability to spend all the money it has been allocated in its capital budget.
“Causes and planned corrective action include, for example, the short maintenance window for track and signal repairs, lengthy processes for material purchasing and recruitment of resources that are in the midst of being made more efficient, and vendor delays to material and equipment resulting in deferral of expenditures,” the report reads.
Staff proposed a budget reduction target across all fully funded programs (excluding revenue buses) of 15 per cent in 2017 through 2020 and a reduced target of 10 per cent from 2021 to 2026.
That will add up to a reduction of $850 million over the next 10 years.
“This new approach to proactively adjust the capital budget based on a detailed review of our capacity-to-spend may afford the opportunity to fund new projects that might not otherwise go forward,” the report read. “It may also offer an opportunity for the City to provide matching funds to the Federal Government’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.”
Currently, the price tag to upgrade TTC vehicles and stations, as well as TTC expansion, totals $9.4 billion over the next 10 years. That number includes new multi-year projects as well as those already underway.
The board has approved a new process for prioritizing projects after consulting with New York, Hong Kong and other major transit agencies.
Ensuring the safety of riders and serving the most customers is paramount to the TTC, which could mean installing new streetcar tracks, as well as fire exits and ventilation systems for subway stations, would rise to the top of the list of the priority list.
Later this month the TTC board will move on to tackling the often contentious operating budget, which has a $15-million shortfall.