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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
Funding Announcements and Today's TTC Rumours
04/03/2004

Anyone watching local politics comes to know that funding announcements aren't always what they seem.

For example, a week or so ago I read a newspaper article proclaiming federal funding of some initiative important to Toronto. I can't remember what it was, but it may have been housing. The interesting part was that towards the end of the article you read "this was the fifth time this money has been announced."

I don't know if it is the media's fault, or the politicians. Either way, what happens is that we see headline after headline announcing the same funding, over and over, before we ever see a cheque.

Take the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation, for example. It was announced with great excitement three years ago by (then) Prime Minister Jean Chretien, (then) Premier Mike Harris and (then) Mayor Mel Lastman. However, today's Toronto Star reports on the frustration of TWRC chairman Robert Fung: "Of the $1.5 billion that the three levels have promised only about $35 million has actually made it into the corporation's bank account, Fung said."

It is with this experience that I consider the reports of one billion dollar TTC funding, in today's Star and Globe.

Money for transit is good. No doubt about that.

But keep in mind that this is just a rumour of a possibly forthcoming announcement.

Also note that of this billion dollar amount, one third is expected to come from the City of Toronto. It is actually $333 million from each level of government

Finally, remember that this money is spread over 5 years. That's $67 million per year, per level of government.

If this money is all new and additional money -- the articles talk about this money being for capital rather than operating expenses -- then this will be great news (when a cheque is delivered). But if this is the funding offer, it's not enough, and it is much less than what had already been promised by both Martin and McGuinty in terms of sharing the gas tax.

Still... I have to say that it is nice and refreshing to see signs of Toronto MPs standing up for their city.


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