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December 11, 2007
City’s Five-Year Capital Plan supports Mayor’s Vision for Toronto
  
Debt reduction, repairs and investment in Council Priorities included in 2008 Capital Budget

Today City Council approved the 2008 Capital Budget of $1.610 billion, which is part of an $8.355 billion Five-Year Capital Plan (2008-2012). The Capital Budget supports the investment and re-investment in the City’s infrastructure - our roads and bridges, public squares, libraries, parks, community centres and transit.

“This budget allows the City to keep pace with growth. It fulfills basic community needs and provides funding for Council priorities like climate change programs and priority neighbourhood initiatives. The budget supports my vision for the City - prosperity, liveability and opportunity.” said Mayor David Miller. “However, if we are to move forward with city-building initiatives, we must have sustainable funding from the provincial and federal governments.”

The budget includes $112.5 million for road and bridge construction projects, $8.4 million to improve Homes for the Aged and $69.1 million for the continued construction of a police station and a training facility, as well as ongoing funding for police vehicles and information technology investments. The City’s recycling programs will benefit from $59.7 million in funding for new larger recycling carts, green bin programs for multi-residential buildings, a network of new Re-use Centres and the implementation of curb side collection of durable goods.

Residents will have better access to City services from continued investment in 3-1-1 technology. When operational in the fall of 2008, 3-1-1 will be the number to call for general information or to request non-emergency City services. City residents will be able to make service requests through 3-1-1 and staff and/or the public will be able to electronically track the status of service orders. The City’s website will also be improved to make it more user-friendly.

Toronto is a city that moves people by transit and the Capital Budget reflects this with 47 per cent dedicated to the TTC. The 2008 Capital Budget provides for the delivery of 193 hybrid electric-diesel buses and 50 Wheel-Trans buses ($166.0 million) for a total of 908 new conventional buses to be purchased by 2017. A payment of $79.4 million will be made toward the purchase of 234 new subway cars that will replace existing subway cars and increase capacity by 8 per cent. Improvements will continue at Union Station with construction of the south access tunnel and funding to improve public security.

The TTC’s 2008 Capital Budget and 2009-2012 Capital Plan exceeds the affordable debt target by $420 million. The TTC has put forward five transit project packages for consideration for additional Provincial funding: new LRT cars for streetcar replacement, Scarborough Rapid Transit upgrades, Yonge/University/Spadina subway capacity enhancements, accessibility and the GTA fare card. If funding for these five projects is provided, then the transit plan would be fully funded. If the funding is not confirmed by mid-2008, then the Capital Plan will be reduced to make sure that debt guidelines are met.

The City continues to invest in public spaces for the general community. Development of mixed-use, transit-friendly communities on the Waterfront - East Bayfront and West Donlands - will begin with an investment of $55.13 million. Public spaces in Business Improvement Areas across the city will receive $4.66 million for various improvement projects.

The 2008 Capital Budget is part of a Five-Year Capital Plan (2008-2012) that will stabilize the growth in the City’s repair backlog and control future increases to the City’s debt. Nearly two-thirds of the City’s 2008 Capital Budget of $1.610 billion will be spent on keeping Toronto’s aging infrastructure in a state of good repair. Capital funding for the Toronto Transit Commission and the City’s roads and bridges makes up 63 per cent of the total budget.

In order to maintain our current infrastructure and build future infrastructure in an environmentally friendly manner, Toronto like all cities in Canada, must receive sustainable long-term funding such as one cent of the GST. Today, municipalities get none of the revenue created when the economy grows. However, municipalities pay the cost of growth through maintaining and building the infrastructure required to support healthy economies and cities.

At least four Priority Neighbourhoods will receive new outdoor recreation facilities and a playground. The City will begin construction of the Kennedy/Eglinton Library expansion and the new West Waterfront Library construction. Two new child care centres will be built in high-need areas.

The City will also implement the Sustainable Energy Action Plan including the Toronto Energy Conservation Fund project ($6 million), the City of Toronto Green Fund project ($3 million), City facilities upgrades ($1.5 million) and Deep Lake Water Cooling at City Hall and Police Headquarters ($5.035 million).

“I am pleased that we have been able to fund our needs for infrastructure renewal, while including some investment in Council priorities,” said Councillor Shelley Carroll, Chair of the City’s Budget Committee. “It is important that we continue to invest in projects that improve the lives of our residents.”

The Capital Budget is funded through debt financing, user fees and partially through property taxes. It is also reliant on funding from the provincial and federal governments. The City will borrow $264 million dollars this year to support the Capital Budget, increasing the City’s debt to $2.6 billion in 2008. The City’s debt is projected to peak at $3 billion by 2012 and then begin to drop off as the City borrows less.

“We have taken action to stabilize the City’s repair backlog over the next few years,” said City Manager Shirley Hoy. “As the backlog is addressed, our borrowing needs will be reduced.”

“This budget supports Council’s debt management plan and protects the City’s assets,” added Joe Pennachetti, Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer. “I believe that we have a fiscally responsible plan in place that addresses the City’s infrastructure needs over the next five years.”

The City’s capital budget pays for the construction and maintenance of roads, the purchase of transit vehicles, the building of major facilities, and the purchase of major equipment. The budget funds the maintenance and construction of City assets and infrastructure, which are needed to support service to residents and businesses.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.


Media contacts:

Kevin Sack, Director, Strategic Communications, 416-397-5277, 416-919-6500 (cell), ksack@toronto.ca

Cindy Bromley, Communications Manager, 416-392-4993, 416-892-9155 (cell), cbromley@toronto.ca

Backgrounders:

What's in the 2008 Capital Budget - Project Highlights,
December 11, 2007

2008 Recommended Capital Budget - $1.610 Billion,
December 11, 2007


 

 

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