After several years of study and multiple consultations with citizens and the private sector, Metrolinx has released its Investment Strategy. To fund the Next Wave of projects in Metrolinx's Big Move regional transportation plan, the Investment Strategy outlines a series of new taxes, tolls and levies recommended to generate the estimated $2 billion per year needed.
When formulating the revenue methods, Metrolinx sought a suite of tools which would apply no unfair burden to a particular group. The resulting tools recommended are a sales tax increase, gas tax, development charge increase, and a parking levy. All revenue generated from these tools would be placed into a Transportation Trust Fund to ensure a dedicated and transparent funding system.
A 1% sales tax increase is estimated to bring in $1.3 billion per year, and given the policy and collection complications will likely be applied province wide, with all revenue generated from communities outside the GTHA being directed to those communities. The 1% tax would be applied to all goods and services currently subject to the HST.
The parking levy will apply to all non-residential off-street parking and is expected to generate $350 million annually. The levy itself will vary based on the value assessment of each individual property but the average rate is expected to be 25¢ per day per space.
Metrolinx's recommended gas tax is meant to ensure that drivers and businesses alike who benefit from less congested roads and highways contribute their fair share. At 5¢ per litre, the projected revenue is $330 million annually.
Given the current regional construction boom, Metrolinx is also ensuring that developers also pay their fare share and are expecting to generate $100 million dollars through a 15% development charge increase. The charges would be implemented with legislation that changes the how new development and construction is assessed.
From the new revenue generated, 75% will go to capital and operating costs of new projects, while 25% will be directed towards local projects and roads programs.
Following these four recommended revenue tools, Metrolinx is also recommending the policy implementation of High-Occupancy Toll lanes, Parking Charges at transit stations, and Land Value Capture tools. If approved, the HOT lanes are estimated to bring in as much as $100 million in net new revenue, while the parking charges are meant to cover the maintenance and operating costs for the new parking garages and associated station improvements. The revenue which would be generated from Land Value Capture tools is unknown.
To direct the construction sequencing of the Next Wave projects, Metrolinx has outlined their Project Prioritization framework which defines how each project will be assessed for its construction viability, nessecity and cost requirements.
With a regional plan, funding, and community support the Big Move may finally be capable of delivering the much needed transit The GTHA has long been promised.
The Provincial Government will now debate the proposal. As the plan moves forward, UrbanToronto will keep you up to date on all the details, especially as it will effect new transit lines in the GTHA. To see what else Metrolinx is doing around Toronto, checkout the UT dataBase links below.