TTC asking for record $727M in funding from city in proposed 2018 budget

The TTC is asking the city for a budget increase next year to offset operating costs without hiking fares.

The transit agency says Presto rollout, subway extension among major 2018 expenses

The TTC is asking for an unprecedented $727.1 million subsidy from the city for 2018. (J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press)

The TTC is asking the city for a record-setting increase to its operating subsidy from the city next year so it can offset operating costs without hiking fares. 

A staff report released Tuesday asks the TTC budget committee to approve an additional $37.6 million operating subsidy to cover the cost of the Toronto York-Spadina subway extension and the continued rollout of the Presto electronic fare system, among other "pressures and changes."

The requested hike — a 5.5 per cent increase from 2017 — would bring the TTC subsidy to an unprecedented $727.1 million. 

This comes after city council directed all city departments and agencies to avoid any increases in their 2018 budgets last May. But the report asserts that council's 2016 vote on a fair freeze for 2018 leaves the TTC without any increased revenue sources while absorbing increased costs.   

TTC staff say they have combed through the budget "line-by-line" and found ways to cut costs by $50 million from a June report estimating a $86 million shortfall.

Tuesday's report also proposes no changes to service, maintaining 2017 service levels at the projected ridership of 539 million rides.

The TTC budget committee will debate the proposed budget on Friday. It goes to the agency's board on Nov. 28.

City council will make the final decision next February.