Karen Stintz created a game-changing $30-billion transit proposal (without consulting Rob Ford)

Karen Stintz created a game-changing $30-billion transit proposal (without consulting Rob Ford)

(Image: screenshot from onecitytransitplan.com) 

Transit rogue Karen Stintz has done it again—after spending the winter annihilating all of Rob Ford’s transit ideas, the TTC chair has taken another bold stand without the mayor’s blessing. She and TTC vice-chair Glenn De Baeremaeker have a shiny new $30-billion transit proposal for Toronto that they’ve dubbed “OneCity.” Altogether, the city would see 170 kilometres of transit expansion meted out over the next 30 years, with Toronto, the province and the feds each contributing an equal share of the money. The priority projects would include six new or expanded subway or train lines, 10 new LRT lines and five new bus and streetcar lines (it’s like a public transit Christmas!). However, at least one part of the plan may cause Ford’s head to explode: the city’s portion of the funding would come through raising property taxes by about 2 per cent each year.

Here’s the Globe and Mail on the plan’s detailed funding model:

It’s called a “current-value assessment uplift” and it would require the province to change the law so that property-tax collection is no longer revenue neutral for the municipal government.

For the average Toronto homeowner, it would mean an extra $180 a year in property taxes once the plan is fully phased-in in 2016, or the equivalent of an automatic 1.9-per-cent rate increase every year.

That’s over and above any traditional annual property-tax hike.

The money raked in through the CVA uplift—$272-million per year, once fully phased in—would go into a dedicated transit-infrastructure purse, Ms. Stintz said.

As mighty as the plan sounds, it’s still a long way from making the leap from vision to reality. Stintz and De Baeremaeker are confident they have the votes to green-light further study of the plan at the July council meeting, and its implementation at the October meeting. However, they’ll also need the province to agree to contribute its share and revamp the property-tax law, and the federal government to cough up the remaining third of the $30-billion bill. Then there’s the fact that the mayor and his allies won’t like it one bit (and have already started attacking the plan). Now that the details of the dramatic proposal are up for debate, we can expect two things: a summer full of transit bickering and frequent use of the term “tax attack.”

Transit plan: Dramatic OneCity proposal floated by Stintz, DeBaeremaeker [Toronto Star]
Property tax hike proposed for blockbuster $30-billion TTC overhaul [Globe and Mail]
Stintz and de Baeremaeker propose “OneCity” transit mega-plan—with a plan to pay for it [Open File]
TTC chair pitches transit tax