Feb 16, 2022

By Jane Brown

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It’s good news for Toronto transit riders and city councillors ahead of their budget meeting Thursday.

A Toronto Star report says the Ford PCs at Queen’s Park are ready to commit $330-million to help Ontario’s transit agencies as they continue to struggle with deep operating shortfalls caused by the pandemic.

Mayor John Tory said on Wednesday morning, he’s delighted that province has stepped forward first.

“This is good partnership on their part, understanding the part of cities, because it isn’t just Toronto. It’s Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa, London which have these transit systems that need some help right now. And so I think this is a very positive step forward…And I hope this puts a bit of pressure on the federal government which so far has not been as forthcoming,” Mayor Tory told CP24.

Public transit has been among the hardest hit municipal sectors during the COVID-19 crisis.

Normally, the TTC carries about 1.7 million passengers everyday, and relies on fare revenue to make up about two-thirds of its $2-billion gross operating budget.

In the early days of the pandemic, ridership fell to an historic low and by the end of 2021, had only recovered to about half of normal.

The TTC alone is projecting a shortfall of $561-million in 2022, which makes up the single largest cost in the $1.4-billion COVID-related funding gap, which the City of Toronto says it will need provincial and federal help to fill this year.

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