Councillor Shelley Carroll

Find out the latest news and upcoming events in your neighborhood. Politics, news, views, and links from Ward 33 Councillor Shelley Carroll.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Shelley's Position on the TTC Fare Increase

I am, as many of you know, a member of the Budget Committee at the City. One of my responsibilities is to sit on the review team that examines the TTC Budgets.
These are the points that I made at the emergency meeting of the TTC:

1)It is the role of the TTC Commissioners to deliberate over and approve the Budget of the TTC. But, so long as the City subsidizes those Budgets with tax-base dollars, it is the role of the City's Budget Advisory Committee to review the TTC budgets to ensure that the amount of our subsidy is fair and is put to efficient use. The subsidy we feel we can barely afford this year represents a 7.7% increase over last year, to tackle growth, regular inflation and skyrocketing fuel costs.

2)We review the TTC Budget always mindful that the REAL PROBLEM continues to be that funding of 50% of the TTC Operating Budget was abandon by the former Provincial Government and has not been restored by the current Government due to their own inherited deficit. We are grateful, as are all TTC riders, that gas tax moneys are now flowing to the neglected TTC Capital Budget. However, we note that the TTC must transfer some of that gas tax money to its Operating Budget to relieve pressure. In short, the impact of the new money is watered down and neither problem is solved.

3)All these things considered, I still firmly believe, on the basis of our review of the TTC Budget that reductions should be made in the area of administration and business practices to meet budget pressures. We remain the only major Metropolis in North America which does not have a sustainable multi-governmental funding formula and until we have it, we should make every reduction possible outside of actual bus and rail services and outside of FARE INCREASES so that the rider isn't hit with our inter-governmental woes.

4)I begged the TTC Commission to defer their vote on a fare increase to the very end of their meeting and first examine a list of suggested efficiencies that the City Budget Committee received from our own finance staff. I made myself available to work through the list.

The Commission continued on with their vote for a Fare Increase but I did achieve one small victory from this committee of Councillors that is, nevertheless, an independent commission. They did agree to direct TTC staff to proceed through the next year with a program by program review of the TTC Bureaucracy.

While I didn't talk them out of the fare increase, I still want to applaud the TTC for continuing to soldier on with this funding imbalance that has lasted 8 years now. While the buses will be crowded as usual, there will be one hundred new buses and drivers addressing ridership growth. Subways will run without the kind of intergovernmental funding that exists for Vancouver's Skytrain or for Montreal or for Chicago or for New York.

Even as I ask that the TTC review its bureaucracy, I have to acknowledge that it is a bureaucracy of expertise. It must be in order to survive the pressures created over the last 8 years.