TCAT 2008 Capital Budget Submission
--- For immediate release ---
TCAT ASKS THE CITY TO PUT ITS MONEY WHERE ITS MOUTH IS
The 2008 Capital Budget Hearing is this Tuesday, November 13th, 9:30 a.m.
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health recently released a report expressing the need to cut vehicle emissions, which contribute to an average of 440 deaths each year. The report showed that a 30% reduction in vehicle emissions could save 200 lives and almost $1 billion in healthcare costs. In order to reduce vehicle emissions the City must immediately accelerate its investment in sustainable and active transportation.
Last month, council approved two new tax measures. A portion of the vehicle tax is to fund active transportation. From the Mayor’s Fair Tax Plan web site: “A Personal Vehicle Registration Fee…would raise about $60 million a year, to be directed to road repairs, public transit, cycling and pedestrian improvements….”
In July, council approved its Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan and essentially renewed its commitment to complete the Bike Plan by 2012, and also announced plans to implement a Walking Strategy.
The City has also committed to infrastructure investments for the 13 priority neighbourhoods across the city, many of which were shown to have inadequate cycling and pedestrian facilities in a study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences released this month. The study showed a positive correlation between bicycle infrastructure that encourages cycling and a lower incidence of diabetes.
So, with all these commitments in mind, TCAT has examined the proposed 2008 capital budget and will present its comments and recommendations to the Budget Committee on Tuesday, November 13th.
“The small amount of funding it would take to complete most of the Bike Plan in the immediate future would go a very long way to mitigate congestion, improve air quality and reduce healthcare costs from smog-related illnesses, as well as car-related injuries and deaths,“ says TCAT’s project coordinator, Fred Sztabinski.
Overall, the funds in the 2008 capital budget and the 2009-2012 capital plan are simply insufficient to meet Council’s goal of completing the Bikeway Network by 2012.
(Please read TCAT’s letter to the Budget Committee including tables and figures by clicking here)
TCAT recommends that City Council take immediate action to get the Bike Plan implementation back on track by:
- Committing a minimum of $6.2 million to the 2008 Transportation Services cycling infrastructure budget
- Commit an additional $300,000 in the capital budget towards Transportation Services staffing to ensure implementation can occur
- Provide a minimum of $4 million in the Parks, Forestry & Recreation budget for repairing and creating new multi-use pathways in Toronto's Parks
- Establish a staff position in Parks, Forestry & Recreation that is dedicated to ensuring the integrity and connectivity of the pathway network
For more information contact:
Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT)
For a PDF version of this press release click here