TTC’s “State of Good Repair” Funding Crunch

In past articles, I have reported the growth in TTC capital spending and the concurrent problem in funding for the system.  Over coming months, the City of Toronto and its agencies, including the TTC, will struggle to create a viable financial plan for 2012 and beyond.  This will include a five-year projection on both the operating and capital sides, an exercise that will (or should) frighten those concerned with the survival of public services.  However, it should also bring some discipline to year-over-year budgets and project approvals by demanding better accuracy in projections and clear justification for “surprise” projects in the out years.

The TTC capital budget is a formidable document with details in two binders of over 1,600 pages.  The summary form is tens of pages long.  Parts of the public presentation are so dense that one page brought a laughable comment from Vince Rodo, the TTC’s General Manager — Executive:  “You’re not supposed to be able to read that”.  A joke, yes, but a sad comment on the level of detail the Commission and the public see when confronted with a multi-billion dollar budget.

I have already written at length about the 2011 Capital Budget, and in this article I will focus on changes to the budget as it passed through the City’s approval process as well as the outlook for 2012 and beyond. Continue reading