Apr 17, 2013

By Scott Walker

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Transit funding in the GTA is putting Mayor Rob Ford at odds with some city councillors, and his own staff.

City Manager Joe Pennachetti has produced a staff report that calls for a regional sales tax, gas tax, parking lot tax, and increased development charges to pay for Toronto’s share of the regional transit plan known as “The Big Move.”

Pennachetti says new revenue tools are the only way to pay for the plan that will cost two billion dollars a year to implement. It includes a downtown relief subway line.

But Mayor Rob Ford is against any additional taxes. He says people can’t afford to pay more, and that Toronto is already too expensive. He says the province should find efficiencies in its spending. But Pennachetti argues two billion dollars is too high a figure to find that way.

The the staff  recommendations are very similar to those proposed by the Toronto Board of Trade, except for one area. Pennachetti wants to hold off on  road tolls until more transit options are available.

The report will be presented to the Executive Committee next week, and then City Council.

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