UPDATE: City Council takes the next steps to fund transit, housing, and climate action

Last week, thanks to your emails, tweets, and posts, Toronto City Council agreed to move ahead with a set of new funding tools vital to the city’s long-term environmental and financial sustainability.

The City will now explore a series of new revenue tools, including funding the TTC through a levy on commercial parking lots – a tool that we’ve been campaigning for alongside our partners at TTCriders for several years.

This is a major step forward for Toronto. Our city, and especially our transit system, has been chronically underfunded for decades. The TTC has one of the lowest levels of funding support from upper levels of government seen anywhere else on the continent, despite it being one of the busiest transit systems in North America.

To fund transit and other vital services, Toronto needs the kinds of funding tools that cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago already benefit from. All of these cities have some sort of funding tool that grows with the economy, like a portion of the sales tax. And all of these cities have a levy on non-residential parking spots in one form or another.

Toronto could bring in up to $490 million every year for the TTC from a commercial parking levy - and it doesn’t require provincial approval.

We’re very pleased that City Council has decided to move forward with a suite of new funding tools. We absolutely need them in order to meet Toronto’s TransformTO climate goals and other critical city priorities..

In fact, a majority of elected City Councillors committed to support funding tools for climate action in TEA’s 2022 election pledge. This vote was an opportunity to make good on their commitment, and all the Councillors who signed the pledge voted in favour, with the exception of two Councillors.

Credit: Matt Elliot (@graphicmatt)

At last week’s meeting, City Council also moved to have staff create a plan for building owners and managers to submit environmental data to the city. This is something that Toronto needs in order to meet our climate goals, as nearly 60% of the City’s carbon pollution comes from buildings. This would eventually bring in revenue to the city from fines and penalties for non-compliant buildings, which could be reinvested into climate action.


Credit: Matt Elliot (@graphicmatt)

There are still many more votes at City Council and several steps that Toronto needs to take before these tools are implemented. But we’re happy to see the momentum behind these important steps to get moving on climate action and other urgent priorities.

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Together, we can make Toronto a clean, green, and climate friendly city for everyone. And we won’t stop fighting for it.