Editorial Archive

Council approves City, TTC budgets

TTC tokens 2/19/21 6:00 PM

Yesterday (February 18), City Council passed its 2021 Capital and Operating Budgets, which included the TTC’s 2021 Operating and Wheel-Trans Budget as well as the 2021-2030 Capital Budget and Plan. Council’s decision follows the TTC Board’s unanimous approval of our budgets at its meeting on December 21, 2020. Our budgets will preserve and enhance our services and key capital priorities, as well as freeze fares for our customers during these unprecedented times.

I’d like to express my appreciation to everyone across the organization who helped prepare the budgets, make the tough decisions and attend Board and City meetings to speak to the issues. Our efforts are making progress on essential legislative, state of good repair and capacity improvement priorities. At the same time, we’re realizing more than $65 million in savings from efficiencies and other measures that demonstrates our commitment to financial sustainability.

The budget allows for a slight increase in bus service to 101 per cent of pre-pandemic levels while providing for flexibility to match service with demand at the individual route level. Streetcar, subway and Wheel-Trans service will be maintained at modified 2020 levels, but can be restored to 2020 budgeted levels later in 2021 as ridership increases.

In addition to flexible, demand-based service, the 2021 Operating Budget includes funding for:
> Vehicle maintenance programs to ensure repairs are completed proactively prior to failure, to maintain strong, safe vehicle performance.
> Diversity and inclusion initiatives contained in the Embrace Diversity Action Plan, including enhanced training for all employees and diversity outreach programs designed to ensure that the TTC’s workforce is representative of the community it serves.
> Improvements to call wait times for Wheel-Trans customers through the implementation of call overflow service.
> Provision of capacity for business continuity and emergency management operations.
> Preparation for ModernTO and cybersecurity implementation.
> Other initiatives, such as work on service integration with regional partners and an automated shuttle service, helping ensure the TTC is ready for, and resilient to, changes in the future.

The TTC Board also approved the 2021 Capital Budget plan of $1.32 billion, including $902.7 million for infrastructure projects and $411.8 million for vehicle projects. Consistent with the 10-Year Capital Plan, more than 60 per cent is dedicated to state-of-good-repair funding while the balance enables the TTC to begin or continue work on critical service improvement projects and complete vehicle-related procurements.

I’m thankful to City Councillors and Commissioners for their confidence and ongoing support.

Students return to the classroom
With students returning to in-person learning this week, it’s extremely important to continue to take all necessary precautions to block the spread of COVID-19. Remaining vigilant is especially important with the new variants in the community.

As previously mentioned, please remember to self-monitor for symptoms at all times. Stay home if you’re not feeling well. And if you exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath) or were in close contact with someone who has tested positive, contact Occupational Health at 416-393-4572 or OHEW@ttc.ca to be connected with a Disability Management Specialist.

Emotional wellness is equally important. For anyone feeling anxious or alone, confidential support through the Employee and Family Assistance Program is available 24/7 at workhealthlife.com or by calling 1-800-572-0039.

In the meantime, stay vigilant and be safe.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
February 19, 2021

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