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TTC proposes $200M increase in capital budget

Sep 23, 2009 09:37 PM
Tess Kalinowski
Transportation Reporter

The Toronto Transit Commission is proposing to spend about $1.1 billion on capital projects next year, about $200 million more than this year’s $800 million budget, according to a report before the councillors on the transit commission Thursday.

The additional funds will pay for the early stages of work on long-awaited expansion projects including the Spadina subway expansion into York Region and the first of the new Transit City light rail projects.

The proposed budget, up for approval Thursday by councillors on the Toronto Transit Commission, shows about half that money would come from the city, while the province is expected to provide $326 million and Ottawa $231 million.

The TTC is projecting a $1.3 billion capital shortfall in the next decade. That represents projects the TTC wants to build that are still awaiting funding commitments from Ottawa and Queen’s Park.

Still unfunded are an additional $277 million the TTC says it needs to implement the province’s Presto farecard system and improve accessibility across the system to meet new provincial standards, as well as federal funds to pay for replacement subway cars.

The TTC is also looking for additional provincial funds for the new streetcars it has agreed to buy from Bombardier.

The province has already committed a third of the $1.2 billion cost of the 204 light rail vehicles that will replace the city’s existing fleet.

But, the report says, the TTC wants Queen’s Park to consider paying an additional third of the cost - money that the federal government refused to give Toronto in its first application for federal economic stimulus funds.

The city has agreed to pay two-thirds of the cost but the TTC report says staff are already talking to the province about picking up a bigger piece of that tab and another $345 million for a streetcar maintenance facility. Both the cars and the garage are prerequisites for Toronto’s Transit City plan.