Mayor Rob Ford opens door on parking tax to fund Sheppard subway

Item date: 
February 23, 2012
Item context: 

An interesting development in the education of Mayor Rob Ford on revenue tools. He now says "You can’t have a closed mind. All the options are there". Parking fees are a good start and eventually he'll come around to road pricing, too.

By ROBYN DOOLITTLE

For the first time since launching his subway crusade more than a year ago, Mayor Rob Ford has signaled he is willing to use modest taxation to pay for construction.

Specifically, he has indicated he is open to implementing a parking levy, which KPMG consultants estimate could bring in more than $90 million annually...

“The best way to go is through development charges and TIFs (tax increment financing)” but parking levys are on the table, Ford told reporters Thursday morning. “You can’t have a closed mind. All the options are there,” he said, referencing Gordon Chong’s report on ways to finance a Sheppard subway extension.

In Chong’s report, tax increment financing — which involves assessing how much property values will increase as a result of transit expansion and borrowing against that future windfall — was included alongside road tolls, a gas tax, a vehicle registration tax and development charges among the funding options...

Until now, Ford has shied away from endorsing revenue tools to fund his subway vision. The mayor has always maintained he could extend Sheppard at no cost to taxpayers through public-private partnerships.

When Chong’s “Toronto Transit: Back on Track” report was released earlier this month, Ford immediately ruled out one suggestion — road tolls — but left the door open to other suggestions...

With files from Robert Benzie and Tess Kalinowski

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