Flaherty won't commit to subway dollar figure

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says there is money available for subways in Toronto — he just won't say how much.

'We have money put aside for municipal infrastructure'

Ford, Flaherty talk transit

10 years ago
Duration 2:09
The mayor and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty talked subways on Saturday.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says there is money available for subways in Toronto — he just won't say how much.

On Friday Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he wants to see the Bloor-Danforth subway line extended deeper into Scarborough.  But unless he gets money from both Queen's Park and Ottawa "the deal is dead."

On Saturday, Flaherty joined  Ford and Coun. Doug Holyday campaigning in the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore.  Holyday is trying to win the seat for the provincial Progressive Conservatives in the Aug. 1 byelection.

During the door knocking Flaherty said, "We have money put aside for municipal infrastructure and we can work out what they want. But these decisions are local decisions. They shouldn't be made in Ottawa," he said.

The issue of whether to replace the ageing Scarborough Rapid Transit line (SRT) with a light rail train (LRT) or subway rose again last month when Metrolinx sent a letter to the city asking for a clear commitment to the LRT plan.

That prompted the mayor to ask the city manager to complete a report outlining the pros and cons.  On Friday Joe Pennachetti released that report.

The LRT option would cost $1.1 billion and the subway $2.3 billion, the report says.

Ford surprised people on Friday when he said he felt a modest 0.25 per cent increase in property taxes was a fair way to raise some of the money the city will need to help pay for the subway.

He said it would only add $5 per year to the average homeowners taxes.

"It's an investment," he repeated. "When you look along any subway route you see jobs, you see growth, you see prosperity."

After their meeting neither Flaherty or Ford would put a dollar amount on how Ottawa should commit.

But Doug Holyday, a veteran city politician, said Ottawa will need to contribute at least as much as the city does.

"I think we are going to be asking the feds to be matching whatever the city does," said Holyday.  "What it means is if we put up something they are going to double it."

On Monday, Ford will meet with provincial Transportation Minister Glen Murray, seeking a commitment from Murray for $1.8 billion from Queen's Park.

On Tuesday, city council will meet to debate whether Scarborough will get above or below ground public transportation.