Funding of OneCity Plan

Discussion about Toronto’s various transit plans can be considered sport but rarely is there a mature discussion about how to help other levels of government come to the table to pay for them. This is the start of that conversation.

The OneCity Transit Plan proposes funding via a “CVA Uplift Model”, most recently proposed in March, 2012:

Using the Uplift in Property Values to Fund the Municipal Contribution to Transit Expansion
Given the broad community benefits resulting from new transit infrastructure, and given that there has been a historic precedent for municipal participation, City Finance staff have suggested that, in accordance with the City’s User Fee Policy, the City’s share of funding would most appropriately be made through a broad application of property taxes.

In considering the appropriate way in which to provide property-tax-related funding, one of the primary criteria is the need for stable, broad-based funding that grows in a consistent manner without reliance on tax rate increases that are subject to annual confirmation. Consistent growth in long-term funding will allow for rational project planning and it will also allow for the lowest possible project debt-servicing costs.

The need for consistent growth has led Finance staff to consider the use of a funding model which makes use of the uplift in current assessment values (CVA). Under this CVA-uplift model, the property taxation system would be modified so that it could capture a portion of the overall growth in property values assessed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and convert this into tax revenue that could be collected by the Province and directed to Metrolinx.

Report of the Expert Advisory Panel Regarding Transit on Sheppard Avenue East, March 15, 2012

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2012/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-45908.pdf

The OneCity Transit Plan consists of many City of Toronto elements of Metrolinx’s “The Big Move” as well as previously proposed TTC lines which would complete the system. The OneCity Transit Plan funding model is Toronto’s “skin in the game”, a direct investment in itself which will be augmented by contributions from the Province and the Federal Government.

We have an opportunity through CVA Uplift to improve transit via a dedicated, dependable funding stream.

We propose to our City Council colleagues that we need to consult on this option now, as the last opportunity for Council to use CVA Uplift was in 2008. The next opportunity would likely be no earlier than 2015, after the next election cycles.