Canada

NDP's Horwath asks Ford to suspend TTC cuts

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to hold off from making cuts to the Toronto Transit Commission until after the Oct. 6 election.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to hold off from making cuts to the Toronto Transit Commission until after the Oct. 6 election.

Horwath made the plea at a media appearance outside the Ossington subway station Bloor Street West Monday.

The TTC has already approved lower service standards and staff reductions — 251 employees are getting layoff notices Monday. Meanwhile, an additional 171 front-line positions stand to be eliminated through attrition.

The TTC made the cuts in an attempt to help the city trim 10 per cent from its operating budget.

"I'm going to ask for the mayor and council to ... hit the pause button on conversations about cutting the TTC in order to deal with their budget. I know it's tough. I know times are tough for municipalities," Horwath said Monday.

"But I believe that we have an opportunity now, with the provincial election coming on Oct. 6, to wait and see. Wait and see who ends up in the premier's chair."

Horwath talked up her party's pledge to fund 50 per cent of municipalities' transit operating costs. That money, however, would only become available if municipalities freeze fares for a four-year period.

"I know how tough it is for cities to fund the entire cost of operating their transit systems," Horwath said. "It is a financial burden that needs some relief. It needs some participation from the provincial government."

Neither the Liberals nor the Progressive Conservatives have committed to sustainable funding for municipalities' transit operating costs.