Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel Releases Recommendations
In September, Premier Wynne established the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel to advise the government on ways to finance the remaining projects in Metrolinx’s Big Move transit plan, which is intended to reduce gridlock in the GTHA (Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area). The Panel – chaired by Anne Golden – recently released their report which contains 20 recommendations.
To pay for the next group of Big Move projects in the GTHA, called the Next Wave, the Panel advocates:
– A phased-in increase in gasoline taxes and fuel taxes, starting with 3 cents per litre in 2015-2016 and adding 1 cent per litre per year up to 10 cents per litre. This funding option would raise $2.6 billion per year province-wide when fully implemented.
– A 0.5% increase in the general corporate income tax rate starting in 2015-2016 which would yield $350 million per year when fully implemented. Note that Ontario currently is tied for 4th lowest general tax rate of any province or territory, according to KPMG.
These two measures would generate just under $3 billion province-wide per year, with almost $1.6 billion flowing to the GTHA. In addition to these two revenue sources, the panel also recommends that the provincial portion of the HST charged on the gas tax and fuel tax which is attributed to the GTHA be redeployed to transit. This measure would raise $80 million per year. These new financing measures would cost the average household $80 per year to start, rising to $260 per year with full implementation.
Another funding option that the Panel suggests would cap the gas tax and fuel tax increase at 5 cents per litre (as opposed to 10 cents in the first option) and instead increase the HST by 0.5% starting in 2018-2019. This option would raise $3.3 billion province-wide per year with just under $1.8 billion earmarked for the GTHA. This option would cost the average Ontario household $155 per year, with that cost rising to $300 annually.
The Panel indicates that the various tax options would be applied province-wide, meaning increased taxes in jurisdictions outside of the GTHA. However they note that the money raised outside of the GTHA would be made available for priorities elsewhere in Ontario. The panel also advocates the creation of a new fund within Metrolinx to administer the new revenues solely towards financing the Big Move and to publish reports tracking how efficiently the money is being spent.
Next Wave projects would include the following:
- Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit
- TTC’s Downtown Relief Line and Yonge North Subway Extension
- Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit
- GO Rail Expansion to 2-way all day and rush hour service
- Electrification of GO Kitchener line and Union Pearson Express
- GO Lakeshore Express Rail Service, Phase 1
- Hamilton Rapid Transit
- Mississauga & Brampton LRT (Huronia-Main)
To read the report it its entirely, please visit:
The OCS will continue to monitor this situation going forward.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Rishi Sondhi or Perry Chao
Construction Information Coordinator / Senior Policy Analyst
Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
940 The East Mall, Suite 120, Toronto, ON M9B 6J7
P 416.620.5210 ext. 222 or 241
Also check our website > www.iciconstruction.com