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.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Road Repairs

We all need are CAA memberships when we are stuck at the side of the road. That being said, I think it's safe to say that your local councillor and budget chief has a difference of opinion with the folks at CAA today.

A release from the organization characterizes the City's capital budget as spending a scant $5 million on road safety backlog this year. In fact, this is a difference in interpretation. In the 2007 Capital Budget, you will find $132 million in State of Good Repair projects. This represents 124 km of Road resurfacing and rehabilitation of 16 bridges, among other things. It also commits $5 million to beginning repair of the Western Gardiner Expressway, a section of Highway downloaded to the City by Mike Harris and the gang without the funding to maintain it.

Do we need to do more? You bet. The backlog of repair on that section of highway is $80 million alone. But our transit system also needs our attention and this is an area where real progress is being made with our Provincial Government. Our Provincial partners are at the table and committed to investing in a system that is over capacity at over 450 million rides a year and, like any major transit system in North America, needs multi-government investment. We await confirmation from the Federal Government that they view Transit in the GTA as infrastructure and are ready to invest in its growth.

In the meantime, it will be another spring and summer of road construction as we invest in the safety and maintenance of our roads and bridges across the megacity. In the post below, you will find my introductory remarks from the Budget Committee meeting this morning.

Shelley's Introduction of the Capital Budget 2007

We introduced the Capital Budget on behalf of the budget Committee this morning. My opening remarks are below. To find out more about deputations you can check the City's website at The most interesting add on thwe the consultation is this monday evening down in the City Hall Rotunda. We will have staff available to deal with your questions, one on one, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Feb 12/07.

Councillor Shelley Carroll
Capital Budget Introduction
Thursday, February 8, 2007

Good morning. I’m pleased to be here to introduce the capital budget, as proposed by city staff, for public consultation and review. I will speak briefly this morning, and then turn it over to City Manager Shirley Hoy and Joe Pennachetti, our CFO.

What is a capital budget?
Toronto’s capital budget supports the investment and reinvestment in the foundation of a liveable city.
Funded by property taxes, cost-recovery charges, and debt, the capital budget supports Toronto’s essential infrastructure like roads and bridges, creates and maintains public spaces like community and recreation centres and public squares, and grows our city for the future.

Members of staff in finance
Staff in city departments
Members of the budget committee who conducted detailed reviews

Budget Committee has been charged by the Executive Committee to prepare a viable budget:
o A budget that meets the objectives of City Council and the Mayor’s Mandate, including state of good repair, the environment, and projected growth.
o A budget that is fiscally responsible, meeting the debt guidelines set for 2007
o A budget that takes the long view, setting a clear plan for the next 5 years.

In years past, we have begun our process with the fiscal gap, which has then become the focus of our discussion. This year, staff have prepared a viable budget that meets our targets, so we can instead talk about what this budget DOES for the citizens of Toronto.

The proposed budget reaches all across the city, and into every agency, board, commission, and department. It supports our capital program in every ward, and will touch every Torontonian with the services it supports.

Here is just a sample of the recommendations. Among many projects and programs, this is a budget that will:
o Build new mixed-use, transit-friendly communities in the East Bayfront, and the West Donlands parks on the Waterfront
o Promote economic development by investing in city infrastructure on public streetscapes with over 60 of Toronto’s Business Improvement Areas spread over all four regions of the Megacity.
o Rewewal of our cultural facilities like Casa Loma, Fort York, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and the Don Valley Brickworks
o Invest in alternative transportation with $3 million in the bike plan, and enough staff support to implement it
o Provide resources to help meet our goal of 70 percent waste diversion by supporting the purchase of new recycling carts, a network of Reuse drop-off Centres, and organics processing
o Implement the 311 initiative, which will put the entire public service under one phone number for easy access and better service
o Enhance the city’s website to make it more user-friendly so users can register and pay for several city services online
o Construct a new childcare centre in Thorncliffe Park, which will preserve 57 spaces in an area of much need
o Add 72 replacement shelter beds at Eva’s Youth Shelter and 110 Edward St., and add 60 spaces in the new Bethlehem United Shelter
o Expand the libraries in the Jane/Sheppard, Bloor/Gladstone, and Thoncliffe neighbourhoods
o Add four new splash pads – three of them in priority need neighbourhoods
o Renew and enhance our road infrastructure, including resurfacing of 124km of roads and rehabilitation of 16 bridges
o Enhance safety and response times by completing work on a new fire station at Sheppard and Leslie/Bayview area
o Invest in the Toronto Police service facilities, including a new and enhanced $76 million training facility, and the purchase of land for both 11 and 14 divisions

Finally, this is a budget that supports public transit. In addition to state-of-good-repair programs and new infrastructure like the Mount Dennis bus garage, this budget recommends an unprecedented investment, including:
o Installation of a state-of-the-art signaling system on the Yonge-University line, which combined with the new subway cars, will increase capacity on that line by 20 percent. (Yes, Sheppard Subway riders, you will soon be able to get on the train when you arrive at Sheppard Station!)
o A massive investment in new transit vehicles. Over the next five years, this investment will total nearly $1.8 billion, including 234 new subway cars, 1,225 new accessible buses, and 204 accessible streetcars.
o These vehicles will be purchased with the ongoing support of all orders of government, much of it already committed. With these recommendations, it can safely be said that:
o This is a transit budget.

Staff have made tough choices to prioritize and develop a budget that serves Toronto’s needs, meets our debt guidelines, and plans for the future. Now, it is our job to work through the numbers, and make sure we have met our priorities, as directed by the Executive Committee

Staff have prepared a budget for your input – but this is just the beginning of our conversation. We want you to tell us if we got it right, and how you think we can make it better.

Councillors are invited to speak on the budget tomorrow. Organizations and individuals can get involved in the budget process in three ways:
o Make a presentation on Friday, Feb 9 (Stakeholders) or Wednesday, February 14 (General Public)
o Discuss issues with City Staff at our public infosession on Monday, Feb 12 – 2 p.m to 7 p.m.
o Write to the committee

I look forward to the opportunity to hear your questions and comments