Friday, June 26, 2009

Funding reshuffle seen saving Toronto streetcar purchase

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A shift in Toronto’s transport funding priorities could generate C$417 million for the Toronto Transit Commission, and would enable TTC to affirm its planned purchase of 204 streetcars from Bombardier Transportation before the deal expires. Toronto's City Council, in a 36-6 vote Friday, approved the measure.


The funds, one-third of the anticipated overall cost of roughly C$1.2 billion (US$1.0 billion), initially were expected from the Canadian federal government, but Ottawa said the purchase does not qualify for stimulus funding. Toronto had committed to one-third of the amount, with Ontario provincial funding supplying another one-third; the move would double the city’s investment in the purchase.

Streetcar funding would come at the expense of other capital projects, such as a bus midlife rebuilding program and a transit station modernization program, which would be deferred until after 2018.


Toronto’s city manager, deputy city manager, and chief financial officer have recommended that "City debt financing replace the one third federal funding budgeted for a total City debt funding amount of C$834 million for the TTC Capital Project No. CTT122 “Purchase of 204 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs)."

The officers noted, “In summary, the City has budgeted its 1/3 share, the Province has committed its 1/3 share, and the TTC has deferred debt-financial projects sufficient to replace the expected Federal 1/3 Economic Stimulus funding share. The Bombardier bid expires on June 27, 2009 unless an unconditional award is made on or before that date." 

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