NDP Leader Andrea Horwath letter to Mayor Tory

This morning, Ontario New Democratic Leader Andrea Horwath sent the following letter to Mayor Tory, on the subject of municipal revenue challenges:

Office of the Mayor
City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto ON  M5H 2N2

December 13, 2016

Mayor Tory; 

Like many cities across the province, Toronto is facing very real challenges in terms of maintaining existing infrastructure, and making new investments in important initiatives like transit. I believe the lack of financial support by successive Provincial and Federal governments has contributed significantly to these challenges. 

The City’s need for revenue is real, and I respect the right of municipal governments to determine the most appropriate way to raise revenues. However, I am concerned that an increasing dependence on flat and regressive fees – such as road tolls and transit fares – can have a disproportionate and unfair impact on struggling residents and marginalized communities. I know that by working together, we can find better funding options.

It is clear that other levels of government need to step up, and invest in transit and city building. We are proposing that provincial support for the operating costs of municipal transit be reinstated. As you know, this support was eliminated by the Progressive Conservatives in 1998, and has not been restored by subsequent Liberal governments.

Based on the funding formula in place at the time the program was cut, the city of Toronto would be eligible to receive over $330 million based on the proposed 2017 operating budget for the TTC and Wheel-Trans.  This is an amount that would more than compensate for proposed road tolls while allowing the City to work towards an increased per-rider subsidy to improve transit in the City.

Great cities and great communities are built through cooperation and collaboration, not downloading and cutting. 

At your convenience, I hope to meet with you, so we can better understand each other’s position, and so we can work together to advance this and other ideas that help build a more fair, more inclusive Toronto. 

Sincerely, 

[signed] 

Andrea Horwath
Leader, Ontario’s New Democrats