Statement on the Province's Decision to Deny Toronto the Regulatory Approval for Road Tolls

For Immediate Release

January 27, 2017

Statement from Councillor Ana Bailão, Toronto's Housing Advocate and Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee on the Province's decision to deny Toronto the regulatory approval for road tolls.

"Last month, the Mayor and City Council sent a very clear message to the Province. We came together as a mature order of government with a much needed plan to finance infrastructure projects in Toronto.

While doubling the gas tax contribution to Toronto is welcome, the Provincial government's disregard for local decision making is a troubling sign. The City could have raised up to $300 million a year by asking the people who use the Gardiner and DVP to pay their fair share with modest road tolls. This money would have gone towards Toronto's transit and transportation needs, easing our financial pressures on other important capital needs such as our social housing repair backlog.

In 2013, the City put into action a 10-year plan to make $2.6 billion in repairs to Toronto Community Housing units – home to some of Ontario's most vulnerable residents. We requested that the Province commit to financing a 1/3 share alongside the City and federal government. By the end of 2017, the City will have allocated over $1 billion in making these much needed repairs and the Province has yet to pay its fair share.

Earlier this week, our Budget Committee approved a 15% increase in the City's operating subsidy to Toronto Community Housing. Toronto is taking strong steps to live up to these responsibilities but we cannot do it alone.

Since the Province has denied Toronto City Council the ability to control its finances, then I would expect that they would return to the table to address the profound housing responsibilities that have been downloaded onto Toronto taxpayers, and help address the housing crisis facing many of our nearly 3 million residents."

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Media Contact:

Robert Cerjanec, Office of Councillor Bailão, 416-338-5274, robert.cerjanec@toronto.ca

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