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1.6% property tax hike over 3 years recommended for Scarborough subway

A staff report is recommending that Toronto city council approve a 1.6 per cent residential property tax over three years starting next year to help cover the city’s share of the costs for the Scarborough subway.

According to city manager Joe Pennachetti’s report, the property tax hike should be 0.5 per cent in 2014, 0.5 per cent in 2015 and 0.6 in 2016. That’s more than the 1 per cent over four years Mayor Rob Ford wanted, but within the range of 1.1 per cent to 2.4 per cent that the city manager had previously stated was needed in an earlier staff report.

The report also asks that the city manager prepare a development charge bylaw to cover the city’s share of capital costs for the subway extension along the Bloor-Danforth subway line.

On Sept. 23, the federal government announced it would provide $660 million in funding for the Scarborough subway, which the Ontario government says would cost about $3 billion to build.

On Sept. 4, the Ontario government said it would cover $1.4 billion to build two stops at Lawrence and Scarborough City Centre stations. The proposed route would be 6.4 kilometres long and would run from Kennedy along the current Scarborough RT route.

The provincial money would only fund two-thirds of what city council approved in the summer. But with the federal government’s financial help, the third stop to McCowan Station would be possible.

Flaherty said shovels could be in the ground within a year or two, and that the subway was expected to be a five-year project.

Meantime, TTC Chair Karen Stintz told the Globe and Mail, Friday, she will not consider a fare hike to pay for the Scarborough subway extension, nor will she agree to a budget freeze, and feels the city – not TTC passengers – should come up with extra money/

Stintz said record ridership also means the transit commission cannot hold the line on spending, especially following last year’s 10 per cent budget cut.

Should the city’s part in the Scarborough subway be financed through a property tax hike? Share your thoughts in the comments.