Coun. Karen Stintz said Wednesday she’s happy that council went against the will of Mayor Rob Ford and yesterday voted to hold a debate about revenue tools to pay for transit expansion.
Stintz, councillor for Eglinton-Lawrence and the TTC chair, appeared Tuesday on Metro Morning. She told host Matt Galloway the issue is too important for the city to deal itself out of the discussion.
"I think it’s very important that Toronto weigh in on the kinds of revenue options the province and Metrolinx might consider when they talk about raising revenue for transit," she said.
Stintz said some of the suggested revenue tools, which include a mixture of tolls and taxes, would not benefit the city, particularly parking taxes and increased land-transfer fees.
"There are certain taxes that don’t make sense, and we’ll make a statement about those taxes."
Mayor Ford opposed to all tolls, taxes
Ford has said repeatedly he is opposed to any new tolls and taxes, which he said Toronto taxpayers can’t afford.
Stintz, however, said the mayor’s hardline position "makes it difficult" for the city to play a role in transit planning.
"We know the money is not there, there’s a structural deficit at the province," said Stintz. "We know if we want to build transit, we have to find the money and the way to do that is to raise it.
"Two-thirds of council believe this is an important debate."
Stintz, who is often tipped as a possible mayoral candidate, also pointed to Ford’s frequently stated desire to build subways.
"He’s talked repeatedly about wanting to build subways, now is his chance to demonstrate that he’s really committed to that."
Galloway asked Stintz about a recent speech she gave at the Toronto Region Board of Trade in which she said the city needs leaders who can unite and not divide Torontonians.
"We’ve seen the politics of dividing the downtown from the suburbs," she said. "I don’t believe that that division is real. I think we are one united city and I think it’s important that we build the infrastructure that we need."