The city of Toronto is knocking on the provincial government’s door looking for permanent funding for the Toronto Transit Commission instead of the hit-and-miss, one time only arrangement that currently exists. While Premier Dalton McGuinty hasn’t slammed the door shut, he’s certainly not very welcoming of the idea.
Instead of a cheque the city could cash to help keep the TTC’s subways, streetcars and buses running, McGuinty gave the city a reality check Wednesday.
“We’ve been there for the city of Toronto in the past but this year is different. We have huge challenges of our own,” McGuinty told reporters at Queen’s Park referring to the province’s unprecedented $25-billion deficit.
“We’ve got to look after our own house, work as hard as we can to get it in order. If there are available dollars we have to invest in our highest priorities – jobs and the economy,” he explained.
Mayor David Miller wants a new cost-sharing deal with the province to secure permanent annual funding for the TTC’s operating costs which represent 16 per cent of the city’s 2010 operating budget or almost $1.5-billion. Miller has been pressing for such a deal to be in place by December 1, however Premier McGuinty said that’s not possible.
“I’d love to be able to do that but we certainly can’t meet any deadline for December of this year. Whatever we do involves greater costs on our part and we’re just not in a position to take that on,” McGuinty said.