April 12th, 2019

Ford’s budget bad news for Toronto transit riders

Ford burns transit transfer commitment

TORONTO — Jessica Bell, Ontario NDP Transit critic, said the Ford Conservatives’ first budget yesterday delivered a fresh round of bad news for Toronto transit riders.

Thursday’s provincial budget revealed that a planned increase to the transit transfer, which comes out of the existing gas tax and helps fund municipal transit programs like the TTC, has been cancelled. That takes an estimated $1.1 billion in transit funding away from Toronto over the next decade. That’s on top of Ford’s announcement, made the day before the budget, to shred existing transit plans — burning all the time and hundreds of millions of dollars already spent on them — in favour of starting from scratch to build his own plan.

“With his first budget, Doug Ford has ripped away any lingering shed of hope Toronto transit riders might have had for relief from delays and overcrowding,” said Bell. “The Conservatives were already taking things from bad to worse for riders who rely on transit to get around by ripping up existing transit plans.

“Now the Conservatives are making things even worse by ripping away $1.1 billion in Toronto transit funding over the next decade by cancelling a planned transit transfer. This will only make transit more expensive and less reliable while riders are left to wonder if shovels ever will ever get into the ground on desperately needed projects like the Relief Line.”

Doug Ford’s flimsy transit scheme is, so far, just sketches on paper, and banks on two other orders of government coming to the table with billions of dollars.

“Toronto transit riders deserve better than to be subjected to the whiplash of the same stop-and-go transit planning they’ve endured for years,” said Bell. “It’s time for the provincial government to stop meddling in transit plans and start investing in making transit better and more affordable.”