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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
TTC Funding Documentary
17/02/2004

The Toronto Star today writes about a documentary that has been produced talking about the capital funding crunch for the TTC.

The 12-minute film is available (for now) from the Star's website: Click here to view End of the Line.

Here's a summary of the movie (from the Star's article) -- but I recommend watching it:

The TTC's operating budget for 2004 is heading for a $48 million shortfall. Its capital needs are pegged at about $400 million a year for the next 10 years just to keep what it has, but it wants to expand bus, streetcar and subway networks.

The documentary begins with last summer's blackout and hordes of people walking home past stalled streetcars. There are also "streeters," in which members of the public give their opinion of the TTC.

Warren Bartram, the TTC's general superintendent of subway track and structure, walks viewers through cracking, leaking and crumbling subway tunnels where water is corroding steel liners, rusting rails and causing problems for electrical systems in at least 600 locations.

"Right now they're still at the stage where they can be repaired," Bartram says on the video.

"If their condition deteriorates any further, then it would be unsafe and we would have to replace these liners and it might cause a shutdown of the subway for two months while the replacement is ongoing."

Pie charts show how much the city pays for the TTC compared to federal and provincial governments. The situation is transposed with the United States, where the federal level pays more than half of public-transit expenses in such cities as Chicago and Philadelphia.

Perhaps most telling are the words spoken by Bill Millar, president of the American Public Transit Association, who said 20 years ago that transit officials from the U.S. would flock to Toronto "to see how transit systems should be run. You were a role model for us ... but now when we go, we ask, `What's happened?'

"The TTC hasn't kept up with the city's growth. The TTC is shrinking and visibly aging and ridership is down. It's a sad situation."


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