York Region Council travelled together to Ottawa last week with an ill-conceived plan to convince the Federal Government to partner up on a TTC Line 1 subway extension into Richmond Hill.
The problem with “partnering” with York Region is that our municipality is out of money. As a result of poor fiscal management by York Region Council, area residents are facing record levels of municipal debt, sky high development charges, and rising taxes. The public can’t afford to spend $1 Billion on 6 new subway stops for one of our southern lower tier towns.
$1 Billion is the predicted 4-way cost sharing project estimate between the Federal, Provincial, City of Toronto and York Region. The City of Toronto is a less than enthusiastic partner as the Mayor and various Toronto Councillors have pointed out that they have other TTC priorities – such as Smart Track and a Relief Line.
York Region Council seems to have a very short memory on the cost of building subways. In February, Council voted to increase spending on the Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) to over $600 million, which is almost double to original estimate.
The TYSSE project was slated to cost $2.8 Billion. The Richmond Hill extension is a much larger project slated at $4 Billion. As York Region Taxpayers Coalition has reported previously, the current allotment of costs for the TYSSE exceeds $2,000 per household in York Region. Our organization does not support arguments that York Region homeowners can afford another $1 Billion mega project at this time.
With the Richmond Hill Subway extension, York Region Council is expecting that there will be a housing boom in the area of the 6 proposed stations.
With development charges in York Region excessively higher than the City of Toronto, expectations of developers lining up to build high rise condominium towers may not be realized.
The York Region Taxpayers Coalition is seeking concrete plans from how York Region Council intends to pay off its existing debt before allocating $1 Billion of increased spending towards another mega project like the Richmond Hill Subway extension.
We are asking that our mayors and regional councillors acknowledge the reality of York Region’s financial morass and re-focus on sound fiscal management.