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Transit

As you know, given the fact that almost as many people commute from Toronto, as they do going in to our city on a daily basis, I have been advocating for a regional approach to building a transit network. Implementing a regional sales tax, tolls or other tools across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) would create new, and dependable, revenue streams paid into by everyone in our region rather than have any one city cover capital expenses through their property tax base.

 

Tolls or a regional sales tax would also offset the current burden on transit riders to pay for the preponderance of transit costs solely through the fare box. My motion for Toronto and GGH municipalities to enter into negotiations with Metrolinx (the provincially mandated transit planning body for Toronto and the GGH) was recently adopted at Executive Committee and will come to full Council in July. This motion requests the City Manager to work with Metrolinx to explore a variety of regional funding mechanisms with officials from across the GGH to move forward with a regional transit funding plan. Any funding initiative should be done on a regional basis to mitigate unintended consequences including job loss and consumer avoidance. Ultimately, we want the City of Toronto to have a leading seat at the table with its partners as Metrolinx's process moves closer to fruition.

 

Metrolinx has stated that it will deliver a $40 billion transit funding plan to support the Big Move Plan early next year that will include all the municipalities in the GGH. I believe it may be prudent to read this report, and consider a shared and regional system, before Toronto offers to assume a OneCity approach.


I will continue working with Council to create a transit funding model that delivers on the priorities that matter most to residents. Moreover, I submit that while we debate how best to expand our transit system, we must always keep in mind that addressing the current, unacceptable overcrowding on the Yonge subway line during rush hours, and state of good repair, must be our top priority while we introduce more riders to the system. The new transit lines already approved by Council, and supported by Metrolinx, are moving forward including Finch Avenue, Sheppard Avenue and the Eglinton Crosstown. These projects will be paid for by a "one-time" funding allocation from the provincial government.


Your feedback is very important to me and I will continue to keep you informed as this discussion progresses. I am committed to creating an efficient, reliable and accessible rapid transit system that helps reduce gridlock and connects our region, neighbourhoods and residents. The path we take must be both visionary and evidence-based, fully funded and fiscally responsible.

 

Ultimately, I am pleased that we are now debating how exactly we should fund transit expansion- rather than whether there's a need to have a plan at all.

Sincerely,

Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22-St.Paul's
www.joshmatlow.ca


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Moving Forward: Improving Public Transit and Relieving Traffic Congestion through a Regional Funding Strategy

Dear Residents,

 

To fund the expansion and improvement of public transportation and relieve traffic congestion for Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), it is imperative to move forward with a regional funding strategy.

 

Our transit needs are too urgent to continue relying on one-time provincial funding. Gridlock has become so severe that the status quo, traffic congestion that costs the GGH $6 billion a year and which has an adverse impact on our residents' quality of life, is unacceptable.

 

As we move forward with improving public transit for residents, we need to continue expanding our rapid transit system, including a connection with Toronto Pearson International Airport, relief subway lines to help ease the burden on the already overcrowded Yonge-University-Spadina subway line, priorities from across the City of Toronto and support state of good repair. Together, we must also reflect the transit needs of residents, including commuters, in Toronto and across the GGH region.

 

Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, is currently preparing a funding strategy for their regional transit plan, The Big Move. There are a variety of funding mechanisms that may be considered including the feasibility of implementing road tolls or a regional sales tax dedicated to transit priorities.

 

This motion requests the City Manager to work with Metrolinx to explore a variety of regional funding mechanisms with officials from across the GGH to achieve these aims. Any funding initiative should be done on a regional basis to mitigate unintended consequences including job loss and consumer avoidance. Ultimately, we want the City of Toronto to have a leading seat at the table with its partners as Metrolinx's process moves closer to fruition.

 

Cities like New York already have regional transit authorities that have the ability to raise revenue to support their transit systems. Of course, if we as a city are satisfied with the status quo, a conversation about realistic ways to fund transit projects won't be necessary.

 

However, if we truly want a faster, reliable and more accessible public transportation system, we must have the courage to finally create a realistic way to fund it.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

 

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CBC News: Road tolls or sales tax touted for transit expansion

April 26, 2012

 

Toronto Coun. Josh Matlow is pushing for city hall to seriously consider implementing road tolls or a regional sales tax in order to fund transit expansion.

 

Matlow will introduce a motion next month asking staff to study the establishment of a working group with other municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area to talk about expanding transit through either tolls or a sales tax.

 

"If we're happy with the status quo, then we can drop this conversation," he told CBC's Metro Morning on Thursday.

 

Read more: CBC News: Road tolls or sales tax touted for transit expansion

   

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Toronto Sun: Matlow proposes tolls or tax to fund transit

April 25, 2012

 

Mayor Rob Ford’s City Hall will be debating road tolls and a sales tax whether he wants to or not.

 

Councillor Josh Matlow said Wednesday he will be asking city councillors to consider either road tolls or a regional sales tax as a way to build subways and improve transit in Toronto and across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

 

“Essentially, rather than just say ‘Let’s build subways’ let’s propose a real way to fund them along with regional transit,” Matlow said.

 

Read more: Toronto Sun: Matlow proposes tolls or tax to fund transit

   

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Toronto Star: Want better transit? Time to talk dedicated tolls and taxes, councillor urges

April 25, 2012

 

Toronto Councillor Josh Matlow wants city staff to research the potential for tolls and taxes that would be dedicated exclusively to transit expansion and improvement — not just in Toronto, but across the region.

 

“I think it’s vital we have a conversation with our neighbouring municipalities,” Matlow said Wednesday, acknowledging that other cities in the region also have transit projects they would like to finance.

 

“The emphasis is to have a realistic funding plan to support new subways and other transit priorities,” he said. “Certainly we can’t keep going back to the province.”

 

Read more: Toronto Star: Want better transit? Time to talk dedicated tolls and taxes, councillor urges

   

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Globe and Mail: Rookie councillor to put road tolls, regional sales tax before council

April 25, 2012

 

Councillor Josh Matlow is pushing to get the controversial topic of road tolls and a regional sales tax on next month’s council agenda.

 

The rookie councillor says he will put forward a motion, which he says will be backed by TTC Chair Karen Stintz, that proposes setting up a working group with other GTA governments and the province to look at tolls and taxes dedicated to transit in the region.

 

Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, already is studying the topic of alternate revenue sources, but Mr. Matlow argues his initiative would contribute to that debate.

 

Read more: Globe and Mail: Rookie councillor to put road tolls, regional sales tax before council

   

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