October 22, 2013 6:50 am

Scarborough councillor thinks sales tax hike could help pay for Sheppard subway extension

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TORONTO – Scarborough councillor Norm Kelly is convinced the extension of a subway line across Sheppard Avenue East is the best option for public transit users in the area and a marginal sales tax hike could be a way of paying for it if the federal government doesn’t step in.

Kelly made the comment during a town hall meeting on transit at the Agincourt Collegiate Institute in Scarborough Monday night.

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The councillor reiterated an idea he proposed last year to institute a 0.5 per cent sales tax hike to pay for the Sheppard subway extension from Don Mills Station.

Mayor Rob Ford also showed up for the meeting in support of the underground option.

The province, city and federal government have already approved and funded a light rail line to run on Sheppard Avenue.

The town hall meeting comes just a few weeks after city council voted to support a subway extension from Kennedy Station to the Scarborough Town Centre, replacing the aging SRT.

The federal government pledged $660 million towards that construction project and the province has also committed $1.4 billion – leaving Torontonians with approximately $910 million to fill the gap.

Council voted to raise taxes to fund the rest of the construction.

Kelly insists an additional sales tax hike could generate around $250 million a year to help pay for the new Sheppard subway.

Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray, who was also in attendance, defended the light rail option as the most economical way to bring rapid transit further into Scarborough.

The province commited $8.4 billion in support of several LRT lines including the Eglinton Crosstown, Finch West and Sheppard East.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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