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McGuinty's Gas Tax Promise

It's been a while since I wrote anything here. I've been busy but, for some reason, unable to really get anything going even in my free time. This, despite some excitement in the Canadian blogosphere, but partly because of some excitement in the real world. Anyway, I'll try to get myself back in the groove with an easy one on one of this site's common themes.

The Toronto Star today reported what they claim is the inside scoop on the McGuinty's government's plans for funding transit with the gas tax.

The government is about to announce their plan tomorrow. If the Star is right, here are some facts:

  • As they said back in May, the first cent-per-litre will come effective October 1 of this year, 1.5 cents from Oct 1, 2005-2006, and 2 cents per litre from Oct 1, 2006 onward.
  • The formula for distributing the money has been set as 70% based on transit ridership and 30% based on population.
  • The result over the three years (Oct 1, 2004-07) will be $680-million overall, of which slightly more than half comes to the TTC.
  • The TTC will get $81.5-million for Oct 1 2004-05, $111.3-million for the subsequent year, and $162.5-million for the third year.

Overall, I can't complain, so long as this is all new money and not a replacement for any other previously-made commitments. It sounds like a promise kept.

Here's an interesting part of the article:

The money will fund 78 transit systems in 105 communities around the province, but municipal councils must agree to use the money on transit, and to focus on luring more users by boosting service and efficiency.

Local councils in each community have to vote to accept the gas tax and spend it on improving transit -- they cannot divert existing transit money to other projects such as road construction.

Another Star article talks about some of the projects that might move forward in Toronto -- although the first priority remains the maintenance deficit. Despite big talk about subway building, The Ridership Growth Strategy is the likely focus for the coming years. At least now it looks affordable.



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