Every year we go through a charade about who really is responsible for a fare increase, assuming we have one. In the bad old days of Mayor Mel Lastman, the TTC and Chair Howard Moscoe made a big point of forcing this debate onto the floor at Council. If Council was going to limit or cut TTC funding, then Council should make the decision.
Something strange has happened: now the TTC is raising fares because those baddies on the Budget Advisory Committee won’t relent. In years past, this would be laid at the feet of the mayor, but, oh dear, we have a different mayor, one we shouldn’t try to embarrass too much. I’ll take Mayor David Miller over Mel Lastman any day, but he has to stop hiding in his office and say publicly where he stands on transit.
Transit and the Ridership Growth Strategy are key parts of the City’s budget (RGS is listed as one of the “strategic” points this year), and the Official Plan’s scheme for accommodating a growing population hinges on much more and better transit. If David Miller doesn’t want to pay for it, he should say so.
This may be fobbed off as a one-year setback, a situation forced on us by the half-billion-dollar hole in the City budget. Funny thing, those one-year setbacks, they keep coming back year after year, and programs that were just within reach fall away to the indefinite future. Political fortunes change, an anti-transit regime gains control, and the reduced transit system becomes the new base from which even more cuts are demanded.
We have been here before. Continue reading