Philip A emailed me this morning and asked:
I was wondering if you had heard of the proposal that Michael Hlinka made on CBC's Metro Morning today? It was a proposal to have the feds and provs take over the $900 M budget of the TTC and the with a .70c per square foot tax increase on residential space it would provide enough money to have TTC free.
The answer is no, I haven't heard of that proposal. And, while I like any talk of more money for the struggling transit system, I would have a couple concerns about this plan.
- Is it right to take more money from a property tax when we already have too many income-distributing social services funded out of property tax? If the upper levels of government simply uploaded social services back where they belong, we could probably pay for the TTC ourselves
- I'd be wary of giving the feds or the province control over this working system. Transit is a very local issue. I doubt my MP would care very much if I complained about the service on my local bus route. She's pretty deaf to any of my concerns already.
On the other hand, talk of making the TTC free is interesting. It certainly would be quite a reversal. Right now the TTC comes much closer to funding itself at the fare box than any other system in North America.
If the TTC was free, I don't know if the budget would be $900 M any more. Ridership would probably increase quite a lot.
In other news:
UPDATE (same day): After criticizing my MP above as "pretty deaf", she surprised me by emailing me in response to an article I wrote about her some time ago. She found it through Google.