CommunityAIR Press Release

By Tuesday, October 21, 2014 0 No tags Permalink 0

            Desperately Needed TTC Funding ‑ or – Island Airport Infrastructure?

          Questions for John Tory

For Immediate Release Monday, October 20, 2014

Contact:  Brian Iler, Chair

CommunityAIR has recently obtained letters sent by the TTC, seeking urgent funding from the provincial and federal governments. The letters, dated July 29, 2014, attached, have not previously been made public.

These letters outline the desperate need the TTC has for $100M for a new bus maintenance facility – essential for improving TTC service now.

Coincidentally, the Toronto Port Authority has asked, repeatedly, for the same sum to start addressing congestion caused by its unrestrained expansion of the Island Airport[i].

Unlike Olivia Chow (or Doug/Rob Ford) John Tory has been distressingly coy on all waterfront issues. Potential airport expansion is a huge issue facing the new Council.

It is time for him to tell us where his priorities are.

Our questions:

  • Which request do you support – improving the lives of Torontonians by funding for the TTC’s immediate service improvements, or more taxpayer subsidies to the Port Authority to support a few private businessmen, including John Tory’s son and namesake, John Tory[ii].
  • We do know that the costs that the TPA wants the taxpayer  to fund in connection with Island Airport expansion, will be in the order of $300‑400M[iii]. Wouldn’t the TTC have a better claim to that money?

According to the letters, the TTC served 525 million passengers in 2013 throughout Toronto, with ridership growing significantly each year. The Island Airport served two million in 2013, demonstrating no growth in passengers over the previous year. It is primarily focussed on serving business travellers.

From the TTC letters:

… the TTC’s ability to attract more of Toronto’s travel is currently constrained by a shortage of garage capacity. Without the ability to house and maintain more buses, the TTC is unable to provide substantively more capacity on existing services or to introduce new and innovative services such as a network of express bus services or a network of high-frequency bus routes. The TTC’s planned next garage is currently underfunded by $100 million. The sooner this garage is completed, the sooner these new services can be introduced.

From then TPA Chair McQueen’s January 20, 2014 letter to the federal government:

… A range of groundside infrastructure improvements were considered in the City’s Report.

Based upon our recent discussions with City staff, it appears that up to $100 million of groundside infrastructure improvements could be required on the City-side to optimize the flow of people, vehicle traffic and transit routes in and around the BBTCA ‘s immediate neighbourhood. This is complicated by the fact that the TPA’s government‑approved borrowing limit is currently $52.lmillion …

The cost of the construction of the required 200 metre runway extensions of the project would be in addition to the groundside infrastructure undertaking called for in the City Report.

The City has made it clear that the TPA, as the airport’s operator, needs to arrange for the financing of these two key elements of the proposal to enhance the airport’s utilization levels.

As a self-financing government business enterprise, the TPA’s financial resources are finite, and the government has not granted the TPA sufficient borrowing capacity to undertake all of the work associated with the City Report.

NOTES

[i]  The actual cost is unknown, as the TPA, by refusing to agree to the City’s precondition of caps on its operation has brought any consideration of remedial action to a standstill.

No design has been released to community members and no consensus has emerged on how changes will help traffic flow or help solve the very serious traffic problems that have been generated in the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood. We doubt that anything will remediate the impact of traffic on the community.

One proponent of the Island Airport expansion, Stolport that holds the parking concession for the the Airport, has released studies that suggest that the only way to solve the traffic problem will be to remove the school and community centre and reroute traffic. This alone could cost in excess of $300 million. More important, it would be completely unacceptable to the community.

[ii] He deputed to the City’s Executive Committee in support of Porter’s Jets Proposal at its March 25, 2014 meeting. The video of his presentation is found at from minute 302 of this: http://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=237&rid=16&gid=203784. Also see NOW story at http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=197372

[iii] This Chart, from one of the City’s consultants’ reports provides a sense of the money required to address the current Island Airport traffic mess, and proposed  expansion:

 

TABLE 13    ORDER OF MAGNITUDE COST ESTIMATES

 

Transit Access Improvements                                                                                            Preliminary Cost Range
Extend TTC Streetcar Line South to An Underground Mainland Terminal $135 – $165 million
Extend TTC Streetcar Line South to An At Grade Mainland Terminal $65 – $75 million
Extend BBTCA Pedestrian Tunnel North to A New Underground TTC Station

Near     Queens Quay / Bathurst

$250 – $300 million
Extend BBTCA Pedestrian Tunnel North to A New Entrance at Corner of Queens

Quay / Bathurst to Provide Improved Connection to Existing TTC Streetcar Stop

$30 – $45 million
Provide a New TTC Bus Route Serving BBTCA Less than $1 million
Road Network Improvements                                                                                              Preliminary Cost Range
Dan Leckie Way Extension $50 – $60 million
BBTCA Underpass $110 – $135 million

 

 

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