toronto city budget

Toronto's spending way more money on Gardiner Expressway repairs than road safety

Toronto's city council gathered today to begin the process of launching the city's 2020 budget and it seems the majority of the Transportation Services Capital Budget is set to fund Gardiner Expressway repairs. 

City Councillor Joe Cressy tweeted a breakdown of this portion of the proposed budget earlier today, calling it "A 20th Century budget for a city that should be a 21st Century leader."

As it currently stands, the Transportation Services Capital Budget will provide a total of $5.03 billion for transportation in Toronto over a 10-year period. The TTC has its own budget and is not included in this category. 

Cressy's tweet indicates that 3 per cent of that money will be spent on cycling, 3 per cent on road safety (this includes Vision Zero, the city's plan to attain zero traffic-related injuries and fatalities), 6 per cent on congestion management and 44 per cent on repairs to the Gardiner Expressway.

The budget process is still in the early stages and a lot could change before it's approved on February 19.

Still, many are taking to social media to express their disapproval of this distribution of funding. 

City Councillor Mike Layton retweeted journalist Matt Elliot's post reflecting the same numbers as Cressy and asked residents: "Does this reflect your priorities for Toronto road improvements?"

"There is not enough focus on safe pedestrian and cycling infrastrastructure to keep rapidly growing population from getting in the car and jamming already clogged roads. More people walking and cycling = less cars on the road!" one Twitter user replied

"Imagine what we could accomplish if the only money we spent on the Gardiner was to tear it down. How can Toronto be so lacking in vision? #teardowngardiner," another wrote. 

The Gardiner Expressway Rehabilitation Plan — which is set to eat up a large portion of the budget — has been a fairly contentious issue since the project first began.

Many were upset it went forward in the first place, citing environmental concerns and saying it should instead be torn down altogether. 

Others are currently complaining of losing sleep due to 24-hour construction work. 

And in addition to the anger many residents feel about the city's decision to pursue repairs on the Gardiner, others are fed up with Toronto's unsafe roads and wondering why more money isn't being allocated to fix them. 

Not to mention the environmental effects. 

City council still has more than a month to debate, disagree on and decide final details of the 2020 budget.

Only time will tell if road safety and cycling will be given any additional funding following upset and outrage from residents and councillors alike — though it's not looking too good. 

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