OneCity Transit Plan after the first City Council decisions

July 16, 2012

Dear Toronto,

Our City has a long history of talking transit and a long history of planning transit but a considerably shorter history of building transit.  Partly as a result of the conversations OneCity initiated, many of you now agree that the best way to build transit is through a long-term transit plan which has stable, predictable and reliable funding.

OneCity is a long-term goal intended to bring reliability and continuity to transit expansion for our City. OneCity includes all modes of transit which, for the first time, links transit expansion with funding options.

Last week Toronto City Council voted for a report to come back in the fall with a transit expansion plan for the City, including funding options. City Staff will work together with TTC and Metrolinx Staff to identify our transit priorities over the next 30 years as we build Toronto’s transit network in conjunction with the region, and link the City together through transit.

While specific transit routes identified in our OneCity proposal were not included I am confident TTC and City Staff will design a road map that is very similar to what we proposed.

There are three important OneCity components which I expect will be included in the transit expansion plan:

  • Toronto’s transit expansion plan will include subways, light-rail and bus rapid transit to meet the ridership demands of the City;
  • The Plan will include funding options so the City can begin to build transit on an ongoing and sustainable basis;
  • The Plan will be developed to support the Official Plan and will properly link all parts of Toronto, helping to create “one city”.

At this link is my June 14, 2012, letter to the Planning and Growth Committee requesting development of a Transit Plan which supports the Official Plan.  This request was adopted by the Committee

At this link are the July 11, 2012, Toronto City Council decisions which came from the letter through Item PG16.16

I am proud OneCity will continue to make Toronto aware of the need to link transit plans and funding plans.  We all look forward to continued progress on transit to meet the ongoing needs of Toronto’s 1.6 million (and growing) daily TTC riders.  It is now time to evolve into a City and region which continually funds and builds transit, not just for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren.

Sincerely,

Karen Stintz
Councillor, Ward 16, Eglinton Lawrence
Chair, Toronto Transit Commission

A continued partnership with the Province

June 29, 2012

OneCity is the amalgamation of years of sound, studied transit planning for Toronto, incorporating parts of Metrolinx’s “The Big Move” and more.

The Province and its regional partners, including Toronto, each rely on each other for progress, and for funding. As Toronto’s partners, we appreciate the Province’s continued assistance to address the need for perpetual transportation investment and improvement, in Toronto and the GTHA.

By the time the City may require the Provincial and Federal funding suggested in the OneCity plan, Metrolinx’s funding strategy will have been hopefully implemented. Metrolinx may want to consider CVA Uplift as a potential funding tool for municipalities.

With OneCity we are asking our Council Colleagues to ask City Staff to report back on a funding model, which includes CVA Uplift as a funding tool for badly-needed transit expansion. The cost of the two OneCity priority projects – the Scarborough Subway and the Waterfront East “Pan-Am” Streetcar line – can be covered by CVA uplift, not provincial dollars.

OneCity’s financing proposal is being presented at this time because of two factors: 1) CVA Uplift occurs once every four years and the next opportunity to study this is after the next election cycles; 2) Within the next 12 months, Metrolinx will present a funding strategy for the necessary The Big Move to address the $6 billion per year in congestion costs and many hours of time lost.

We thank the Province for their continued support of Toronto. We thank the Minister, Cabinet and Caucus for continuing to support the supremacy of Council and its decisions for the City of Toronto. The OneCity Transit Plan includes a funding proposal in anticipation of the Province’s request of us for funding assistance. If the will of Council is to support OneCity, in its current form or modified, we would expect the Province to consider it.

Karen Stintz
Chair, Toronto Transit Commission
Councillor, Ward 16 (Eglinton-Lawrence)

Statement on OneCity from Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig

June 27, 2012, statement today from Bruce McCuaig, CEO of Metrolinx.

“Metrolinx, as the agency that leads all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, welcomes the TTC chair’s proposal and its recognition of the need for transportation solutions.

Metrolinx views as a positive development the fact that this proposal recognizes new investment will be an important component of any successful expansion of transit infrastructure. We also welcome its recognition of the need for the federal government to be an equal funding partner.

Metrolinx recognizes the need for new local transit infrastructure to complement The Big Move, our planned regional system, and so we are encouraged that Toronto is addressing its local needs.

I look forward to a better understanding of this proposal. Metrolinx will be interested in how this proposal complements the broader regional network and aligns with The Big Move. We have $16 billion worth of projects underway with shovels in the ground, so it’s important for us to coordinate as we move forward.

Together, we have an opportunity to make our transportation system one of the reasons why people and industry continue to make the GTHA their choice for locating their families and businesses.”

The OneCity Transit Plan: A Letter to City Council colleagues

June 27, 2012

Dear Council Colleagues:

For as long as we have been elected officials we have heard individuals, groups, organizations, indeed everyone debate what Toronto needs in terms of transit investment and infrastructure.  The desire for better transit, for a better city, has not abated.  It has strengthened.

But these investments cannot be built without funding.

At 10:30 am today, Wednesday June 27, we will announce the OneCity Transit Plan, a 30-year, $30 billion plan designed to bring transit to every corner of the City of Toronto.

What we are proposing today will, we believe, help lead Toronto to its future, with our funding partners.  OneCity will complement and strengthen any and all forthcoming funding strategies from the Province of Ontario, Metrolinx, and the Federal government.  OneCity introduces CVA Uplift as a viable transit funding option for Toronto.  It will give Toronto “skin in the game”, to help get Toronto the transit everyone demands, sooner rather than later.

The CVA Uplift model will capture some of the property value increase – known as “uplift” – to build a dedicated transit legacy fund.  Currently, as property values increase annually, the City can only collect the same amount of property taxes every year because of provincial revenue-neutral requirements.  The Plan will ask the Province of Ontario to allow the City to capture 40% of the uplift, which is equivalent to a 1.9% property tax increase per year for four years.  This idea was first suggested in the March 15, 2012, Report of the Expert Advisory Panel Regarding Transit on Sheppard Avenue East.

We call our plan “OneCity” because this plan unites all parts of our City through transit.  This plan will benefit every single resident of Toronto, whether they take transit or drive.  We will build the right transit to suit the right demand at the right price, whether it’s LRTs, streetcars or subways, and help make Toronto a leader in public transit once again.

The OneCity Transit Plan boasts six subway and train lines, 10 LRT lines, and five bus and streetcar lines, totaling an impressive 170 km of new transit lines, bringing together many years of discussion on transit planning.

The first project we propose is replacing the Scarborough RT (SRT) with a Scarborough Subway, which would run from Kennedy Station, through Scarborough Town Centre, on to Sheppard Avenue.  This Scarborough Subway makes sense because the SRT’s ridership numbers were never low and Scarborough transit users deserve service continuity.  Replacing the SRT with a Scarborough Subway will mean no service interruptions and greatly improved services.  TTC riders won’t be stuck with shuttle buses for at least four years, running up and down roads like Kennedy, Brimley, Midland, Ellesmere and Eglinton, as they await a replacement SRT.

The second project is to build a streetcar line on Waterfront East, to help serve the 2015 Pan-Am Games and new residents of the area.

The other 20 projects will be prioritized by TTC staff in coming months.  These include:

  • Building a Don Mills Express line from Queen Station to Eglinton to alleviate the current pressures on the Yonge/Bloor subway line
  • Upgrading the Bloor-Yonge subway station
  • Extending the Yonge subway to Steeles
  • Extending the Sheppard East LRT line to Malvern
  • Extending the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line to Pearson Airport

Most Torontonians and many major political organizations in Toronto have implored all levels of government to build and improve transit in the GTA.  The OneCity Transit Plan will be Toronto’s contribution to the financing plan required to make the GTA plan work.  It will improve Toronto.  It will create jobs.  It will get us all to work and home faster.

We hope that you will join us today at 10:30 am as we announce this exciting proposal, which will help provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of Torontonians in the most financially responsible manner.

Please review the material on this website (www.onecitytransitplan.com) and contact us directly with any suggestions or questions.

Sincerely,

Karen Stintz
Chair, Toronto Transit Commission
Councillor, Ward 16 (Eglinton-Lawrence)

Glenn De Baeremaeker
Vice Chair, Toronto Transit Commission
Councillor, Ward 38 (Scarborough Centre)