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Gas prices fuel another GO fare hike

Joseph Hall

GO Transit is seeking its second fare hike in less than 12 months in order to freeze its municipal subsidy requirements at last year’s levels.

Looking to offset rising diesel prices, which would have seen its subsidy requirement of $107 million rise precipitously, the commuter agency is asking the Greater Toronto Services Board to okay a 15 cent increase for mid-March.

The across-the-board jump would follow a 15 cent increase imposed in April, 2000.

“I don’t think anyone is going to complain about 15 cents after they look at what’s happened to the cost of fuel,” Oakville Mayor Ann Mulvale said at a meeting of the board’s finance and administration committee yesterday.

GO was also asking the finance committee yesterday to okay its 2001 budget - which calls for a total of at least $313 million in capital and operating expenses - so that it could be passed on to the entire board for approval in March.

The committee deferred its approval of the budget to a Feb. 23 meeting.

Of the 2001 budget total, about $169 million is expected to be recovered from the fare box. Another $37 million would come from provincial and internal reserve funds, with the municipal contribution making up the remainder.

That $107 million municipal subsidy would be paid 48 per cent by the City of Toronto, with the rest shared between the regions of York, Peel, Halton, Durham and Hamilton-Wentworth.

The subsidy formula is based on the relative population levels in each funding municipality.