Tory 'thrilled' about infrastructure money, but still wants TTC savings

Mayor John Tory says he's "thrilled" seniors governments have teamed up to spend $360 million in infrastructure money on the TTC, but said he still wants Toronto's transit commission to find 2.6 per cent savings in their budget.

$360M for TTC repairs is badly needed, mayor tells Metro Morning

John Tory said he's 'thrilled' that the provincial and federal governments have agreed to an infrastructure plan that will pour $360 million into the TTC. 'All of these things will make a positive difference,' he told Metro Morning Wednesday. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Mayor John Tory says he's "thrilled" senior governments have teamed up to spend $360 million in infrastructure money on the TTC but said he still wants Toronto's transit commission to find 2.6 per cent in savings in their next budget.

"All of these things will make a positive difference," said Tory Wednesday when asked about a long list of line items the money will cover, everything from track repairs to new buses and station fixups.

"We have by far the biggest transit system in the country and by far the biggest need and they've acknowledged that, which took courage," said Tory.

During his interview on Metro Morning Wednesday, Tory said while many politicians would prefer to spend money on new projects, the TTC's "state of good repair" items have been a glaring need for too long.

"Politicians and officials love to go and cut a ribbon on a new project … even though the ones already running need to have money put into them," he said. "It's no different than anybody's house or car, you need to put money into them to keep them in top shape."

The TTC will get $360 million from senior governments to cover infrastructure repairs, everything from track and station upgrades to repairs at stations. (Giordano Ciampini/Canadian Press)

Call for cuts still stands

The new money won't derail Tory's call for the TTC to find efficiencies totalling 2.6 per cent in next year's budget. TTC CEO Andy Byford has said that may mean service cuts, but Tory insists the savings are needed to help cover new costs, such as a $30 million bill from the province to integrate the Presto fare card.

"I don't accept the answer that in a $1.7-billion organization with thousands of employees, that there is no place that they can find efficiencies," said Tory. "I don't accept it."

Tory pointed out that he has not called for any specific TTC cuts, but said he wants to see some cost-saving ideas put on the table in next year's budget process.

"We will see what that list says," said Tory. "We haven't voted for [cuts], we've simply asked for them."

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