Mayor John Tory says he is “incredibly disappointed” that the provincial government is withdrawing its previously promised gas tax increase, which will strip Toronto of millions of dollars this year alone.
“We had budgeted, as other municipalities had I’m sure, for much of that committed increase to go towards the state of good repair for the TTC,” Tory said during a news conference following Premier Ford’s budget reveal Thursday evening.
Tory said that the gas tax increase would have allowed for subway cars and bus overhauls, and that the city was counting on this commitment to move forward with repairs that had been postponed for long periods.
“Dropping provincial funding like the gas tax increase is exactly why the state of good repair suffers over the years,” said Tory.
This comes one day after Premier Ford announced the province’s $28.5 billion transit expansion plan, which is set to improve Toronto’s downtown relief line.
“We were very pleased to see yesterday’s investment in new transit, and I don’t want to seem lacking in gratitude for that, because I think it will be important going forward,” said Tory.
However, the Mayor stands firm that a commitment made during an election campaign should not be withdrawn, because municipalities, including Toronto, make plans and allocate their money accordingly.
“Multi-year commitments that are made should be kept, and I can tell you that it affects us in that we had completely re-allocated how our capital was structured so that we put the money as required from the fuel tax into TTC state of good repair, and then took the money that that freed up to do other things, like some of the housing revitalization that we’re doing for long term care and for shelters,” said Tory.