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Morning Brew: Metrolinx to release transit tax options, Board of Trade starts toll ad campaign, Toronto's "Soup King" dies, and Nicholas Hoare closes his book store

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 2, 2013

toronto skylineMetrolinx is due to unveil the list of revenue tools it believes will fund the next phase of infrastructure projects in the GTA. In a report due later this year, Metrolinx will select a few of these options to pitch to the provincial government. Premier Kathleen Wynne says Toronto will adopt at least one of the fees in order to pay for the much-needed Downtown Relief Line, among others.

Speaking of the Big Move, the Toronto Region Board of Trade, which recently released its own list of recommended transit taxes and tolls, has also started a radio and print ad campaign to drum up support for its ideas. Do you think public opinion of transit taxes is shifting?

Michael Nguyen, the 23-year-old killed outside the Yorkdale Mall on the weekend, had a lengthy criminal past and alleged gang ties, according to the Toronto Star. Nguyen was convicted over an armed home invasion in Windsor in 2005. Police also think the Alexandra Park resident was involved with the Asian Assassinz gang, a group responsible for petty vandalism and robbery.

Riding the subway or driving on the Gardiner, it's easy to overlook nature in Toronto. Right now, rainbow trout are jumping up the Humber River at the Old Mill dam. Sadly, according to the Toronto Star, the fish that do make it up stream are threatened by pollution.

A sad day for Toronto's food scene yesterday. Ravi Kanagarajah, the "soup king" behind the three renowned RaviSoups locations in the city, died suddenly of a stroke on Wednesday, his family has announced. Kanagarajah arrived in Toronto after being forced to flee Sri Lanka in 1987. He was 42.

Finally, the Nicholas Hoare bookstore is no more. The Front St. institution closed its doors for the final time at the end of business yesterday, citing concerns about the publishing industry. Stores in Ottawa and Montreal have also closed in recent years. Hoare opened the store, which specialized in British books, in 1989. He's retiring to Halifax.

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IN BRIEF:

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: "On Top Of Things" by Acid_Punk/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

17 Comments

DL / April 2, 2013 at 08:27 am
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Best way to get the funding for transit, you ask? Get the federal government to make up for the massive gap in what Ontario receives in equalization payments compared to what we pay in taxes! That would cover transit for decades.
Craig replying to a comment from DL / April 2, 2013 at 08:35 am
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DL, while that would be the easiest it's not going to happen with Harper in charge (It probably won't happen with Trudeau in charge either).

To use a Republican phase, everyone needs to have some skin in the game. You drive you pay, you use Public Transportation you pay...no one should be exempt from improving commute times in the GTHA.
DL replying to a comment from Craig / April 2, 2013 at 08:52 am
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But that's exactly it - there are road improvements that can be made within Toronto proper and in the GTA as a whole. This can't all be about more subways and busways and walkways and bikeways and an interchangable jetpack system to use the skyways. We need more roadspace, and they need to be able to convince automobile users that higher costs for them are indeed going to result in road improvements along with improvements in public transit.
Robert replying to a comment from Craig / April 2, 2013 at 08:54 am
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And transit riders already pay more then other forms of transit, to the tune of 70% of the cost of running the TTC
fed_up_urbn_plnr / April 2, 2013 at 09:05 am
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looks like the list leaked. no mention of income taxes or congestion zones. but transit riders get to look forward to paying a lot more in transit fares. so much for the funding strategy.
Craig replying to a comment from DL / April 2, 2013 at 09:08 am
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DL, re-read my comment, I said we need to improve the commute for everyone, not just public transportation.


Robert, I am well aware that TTC riders fund 70% of the operating costs of the TTC (not capital costs, mind you). An expanded and funded system would help everyone, not just those riders but drivers too, by giving people the option of leaving the car at home.
McRib / April 2, 2013 at 09:14 am
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I agree with Craig, we've all got to pay for this. This includes the corporations who would benefit at least as much as the public with increased efficiency and transit and roadway expansion/improvements.

The Board of Trade had a great list of ways that the public can pay for transit expansion, I just hope they are also made to pay their share.

Lets ALL contribute, and lets ALL reap the benefits.
DL replying to a comment from Craig / April 2, 2013 at 09:29 am
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I understand that, but I hope Metrolinx does too. Announce road tolls and don't put anything into roads except for more pointless HOV lanes, and this thing dies before it even passes first reading.
McRib / April 2, 2013 at 10:18 am
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Having now read all of the Metrolinx suggestions, i notice only one initiative, the employer payroll tax, is aimed at anyone other than the public.

Typical.
McRib / April 2, 2013 at 10:22 am
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edit: actually to be fair, the development charges and land value capture are also aimed at developers....but you can be sure development charges will be passed on to the buyers.

Land Value Capture sounds interesting.
iSkyscraper / April 2, 2013 at 10:42 am
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Payroll tax is fine - this is how many cities make transit work.

Fares cannot increase for the very simple reason that Toronto already pays the most expensive transit fares on the continent. You want to index TTC fares to be, say, pegged to the average fare of NYC, Chicago, LA, Philly and Boston and rise over time with them, fine. But you can't charge people more than anyone else and then go back for more.
Grumpy replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / April 2, 2013 at 11:28 am
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Are you talking cash fares or metropass costs? Cause Brampton just upped their cash fare to $3.50, Toronto and Durham Region (from Pickering to Oshawa) pay $3.00, Mississauga is $3.25 and York Region is $3.75. So when saying that Toronto has the most expensive transit fares, taking cash fare, that's not true. Brampton, Durham, Mississauga and York aren't Toronto. (although even with exchange rates, having been on the New York Subway, that's a cheaper cash fare. I was warned not to touch anything though without having hand sanatizer handy)
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Grumpy / April 2, 2013 at 11:56 am
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I could care less about Brampton or other suburbs/satellite cities. I'm talking about big cities vs big cities:

http://www.blogto.com/city/2013/02/is_the_ttc_still_the_most_expensive_transit_system_in_north_america/

Suburbs always are going to cost more due to their smaller transit user base and larger distances to cover. That said, Metrolinx should take over all surburban transit and treat as a suburban division of the TTC, with similar fare cards and transfer rights. That's how Chicago, New York, etc. do it.

If you're trying to pin this as a class-race issue of "the inner city is getting a free ride and those welfare cases should pay more to get out of my way so I can drive downtown to work" then we are going to have a problem. The TTC costs too much as it is. Fare increases are not an appropriate revenue tool here.
Jacob replying to a comment from DL / April 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm
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First, where do you propose to get more road space from? Toronto is a fairly built-up city at this time. Are we supposed to knock down neighbourhoods?

Second, it's a long-proven fact that if you build more roads, the new roads will soon also be at capacity. New roads encourage *more* driving. And how would the streets of downtown, for example, cope with that additional car traffic?
Grumpy replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / April 2, 2013 at 01:15 pm
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"If you're trying to pin this as a class-race issue of "the inner city is getting a free ride and those welfare cases should pay more to get out of my way so I can drive downtown to work" then we are going to have a problem. The TTC costs too much as it is. Fare increases are not an appropriate revenue tool here."

Excuse me? Did I even bloody imply that I was thinking that? Do you even know me? I happen to be an inner city living, transit taking individual, thank you very much, so you can piss off with your assumptions about what I was saying and where I was coming from.

I was simply pointing out that in the grander scheme (since you didn't state initally that you were talking ONLY about big city vs big city) of transit in the GTHA, Toronto isn't paying the highest in cash fares.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Grumpy / April 2, 2013 at 03:59 pm
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The Ford trolls are out in force today pushing raising transit fares over any form of "tax". You don't have to read too many Toronto Sun comments to understand their biases. Sorry that I thought you were one of them.

But don't think in a bubble, and don't frame anything as Toronto vs the suburbs. That is not the answer here.
Grumpy replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / April 2, 2013 at 04:42 pm
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Dude, did I actually say anything at all about city vs suburbs? ALL I DID WAS POINT OUT THAT LOCALLY ON A CASH FARE BASIS, OTHER MUNICIPAL TRANSIT SYSTEM USERS PAY MORE. That's it. Just a fact. NOT FRAMED IN ANY KIND OF POLITCAL WHATEVERTHEFUCK. Are you even paying attention here?

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