TEA and TTCriders have gotten City Hall to move forward on a new funding source for transit.
In the weeks before this most recent budgetary and mayoral drama at City Hall, Council directed City staff to present detailed options on how to implement a commercial parking levy in an equitable manner.
This is a big step forward. For months, TEA and TTCriders have been advocating for this motion. And we got there because thousands of Toronto residents sent emails and letters to the Mayor and Councillors, handed out flyers, and spoke up at budget meetings. John Tory, initially a staunch opponent of the commercial parking levy, ended up moving the motion to study this tool.
This was an important shift: politicians rarely change their positions once they’ve made a statement in public. And we got there because of the constant stream of emails and phone calls to City Hall, letters to the editor, media coverage, and conversations with friends and family in person and online. The collective result? We moved the needle together.
Toronto needs a commercial parking levy. It’s a source of funding used in cities around the world, and could fundamentally transform how Toronto funds transit operations. The City’s own reports estimate it could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. That’s equal to half of the TTC’s entire pre-pandemic farebox revenue.
TTC Cuts Are Coming
Unfortunately, cuts to TTC service are imminent. This year’s budget, just passed by Council on Feb 15th, includes yet unnamed cuts to transit service. During the budget vote, some City Councillors attempted to restore funding to maintain service levels, and to learn which routes will be cut, but they were repeatedly voted down.
To reach the city’s TransformTO climate targets, we need transit to be better, more frequent, and eventually free. It’s why we’re pushing so hard for a commercial parking levy: not just to avoid future cuts, but to have a new, predictable source of transit funding so that we can build the transit of the future.
We expect a report on the commercial parking levy from City staff before next year’s budget. In the meantime, we need to prepare for a fight. Big parking lot lobbyists will almost certainly put up stiff resistance, so we need your voices to help cut through the noise and speak up for an important source of funding.
If you haven’t already, sign up to TEA’s email list. We’ll keep you updated on the campaign to transform TTC funding with a commercial parking levy on non-residential lots.