Taking A Bite Out Of Spadina

The City of Toronto Budget Committee fired back at Queen’s Park in their ongoing battle over proper funding of provincial obligations under legislated shared-cost programs.  Ontario’s underpayment for 2007 is $71-million.

Councillor Mihevc, who also sits on the TTC as vice-Chair, moved that the city withdraw $30-million of its contribution to the Spadina Subway Extension trust fund.  The remaining $41-million shortfall will be taken from City reserve funds.

Councillor Rae moved that the City Solicitor be instructed to apply for a judicial interpretation of provincial cost sharing obligations for various social services.

Both motions carried unanimously.  The motion regarding the Spadina funds will go to Council as part of the final budget debates, while the motion about the legal situation for shared cost programs can be approved at Executive Committee next week.

There is already budgetary pressure on the Spadina extension project because final approval has been delayed beyond the date originally anticipated by the TTC (there is a passing reference to this on next week’s TTC agenda without any specific numbers).  Inflation will push up the final project cost if the line is not built on the planned schedule.

The Budget Chief, Councillor Carroll, as well as Councillors Mihevc and Rae, indicated that the Spadina Subway extension is a Provincial priority, not a City priority.

Queen’s Park wants Toronto to spend on a Provincial pet project, but won’t pay their share of social programs forcing Toronto to pick up the tab.

As of midday April 12, Queen’s Park has not responded to this situation.