“These cuts would be like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Tory said.
Toronto could be in deep trouble without a financial lifeline. On Friday, Mayor Tory revealed the grim reality that the city will face without provincial and federal help in the wake of COVID-19 in Toronto. It would include widespread TTC shutdowns, mass layoffs, and soaring property taxes.
Tory said the City will be forced to make massive cuts to recoup financial losses from the pandemic. He painted a picture of the worst-case scenario, and it’s frightening.
“Toronto alone is facing a $1.5 billion to $2.8 billion financial pressure this year alone,” the mayor began.
“It would take a 47% hike in property taxes to raise $1.5 billion. This is just not practical or fair to the citizens of Toronto who pay those taxes.”
“Without immediate support, our city… is facing unprecedented cuts that will hurt this city and every person and every business that the federal and provincial governments have been trying to help,” he added.
He said that the Toronto Transit Commission would have to cut back by $575 million. This means shutting down 50% of its services, including entire subway lines.
“It would look like service on Line 1 and Line 2 of the subway would be cut in half. Line 3 in Scarborough and Line 4 in North York, the Sheppard Line, would be shut down entirely.”
“All streetcar service levels including King, Queen, and St. Clair would be cut in half. Streetcars would come only every 10-20 minutes,” stated Tory.
This would be a huge blow for commuters who depend on city transit each day.
Tory was asked when these cuts would begin if no financial relief is given. “The days of reckoning are approaching” was his response. He says he hasn’t stopped pressuring our governments to help major cities like Toronto.
“As the year goes on, we have to plan for what would happen if we don’t get that support… I find these cuts completely unacceptable.. even to contemplate, but it’s the reality of where we sit today,” said Tory.
Back in March, the TTC had already started to reduce bus service as a result of decreased ridership and more staff members staying home.
The transit company also reduced capacity on buses and has been taping off seats to facilitate social distancing.
Tory admits that Toronto’s future remains uncertain, and he will continue to do what it takes to help the city recover.