Don Mills residents welcome the proposal for an LRT/subway along Don Mills Road although they are concerned with how they will pay for it, according to a local ratepayer group.
“The question that often comes up is when will we be getting ours,” says Terry West, president of the Don Mills Residents Association.
The proposed Don Mills LRT would run from Steeles Avenue to the Eglinton Crosstown station and continue as a subway intersecting the Bloor-Danforth line and continuing on to Queen Station.
City council is to vote this week on a feasibility study for the OneCity transit plan which includes the don Mills line.
West says Don Mills residents are open to an LRT because the road currently has good bus service and is not as congested as Eglinton or Sheppard avenues.
However, many of his members are concerned about how the city will pay for the project.
The plan had the city footing one-third of the bill through new taxing power, with other levels of government providing the rest.
On average, property tax increases would start at $45 a year and grow to $180 a year. The resulting $272 million a year in revenue would be solely dedicated to building transit infrastructure.
Ward 25 councillor Jaye Robinson says the numbers don’t add up. She argues the transit revenue stream would fall short of $10 billion after 30 years.
“At first glance, they fall short of what’s required to do this $30 billion plan.” she says. “From my calculations, it’s only about a quarter of what’s needed.”
She says she wished the plan also considered options such as parking levies, development charges and road tolls on a regional basis.
“This circumvents all that and just asks the residents to fork out money through residential taxes,” she says.
Robinson was also not thrilled about the announcement’s timing. She says many of her residents go away for the summer, which makes it difficult to consult them.
She describes the plan as intriguing and interesting, but unrealistic.
“We need the proper funding strategy and I’m not sure this is it,” she says.
Ward 26 councillor John Parker says that while the plan is worth consideration, the presentation was “long on the glitz and glitter and a little short on the calm rational analysis.”
He also pointed out many of the proposed lines have been recycled or tweaked from the Transit City and Downtown Relief Line proposals.
“In many respects, there was nothing new in the announcement,” he says. “It was basically a packaged up presentation of ideas that have been sitting on the shelf for some time.”
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