Andrew Spicer's Weblog - Current - Index - Email

Co-Funding GO

Part of the ongoing debate between the City and the Province about transit funding involves the question of funding for GO.

GO's operating and rehabilitation budgets are mostly covered through fares and provincial subsidies, according to the Toronto Star. Then there is a capital growth (i.e., expansion) budget, which is to be partly funded by municipalities, including a big chunk from the City of Toronto.

Expanding GO service is a bit of a mixed blessing for Toronto. There's no doubt that it helps Toronto's downtown by making it easier for people to get there from 905-land. Our downtown is certainly more successful than it might otherwise be, and as GO pointed out in a press release yesterday, this leads to higher property tax yields downtown.

On the other hand, money that goes to expand GO is money that doesn't go to expanding or improving TTC service.

  • Dollar for dollar, money spent on the TTC is the most efficient way to attract new riders
  • Helping GO instead of the TTC means a benefit to places like Mississauga or Pickering while Etobicoke or Scarborough suffer (relatively speaking)
  • Funding GO over the TTC means helping distant, sprawling suburbs, thus promoting suburban sprawl instead of urban in-fill
  • Ultimately, this leads to the development of property values in the 905 at the expense of 416... which in turn means higher taxes in Toronto and lower outside... which in turn encourages more development in 905

On the whole, I feel that the strategic interests of the city and the cause of environmentalism are always better served by spending a dollar on the TTC instead of GO.



spicer index: