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City’s report on transit funding to be debated at next month’s TTC meeting

Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle spoke to the media in Toronto Nov. 30, 2012 at City Hall about the news of the change in the ruling against Mayor Rob Ford, allowing him to run in a by-election.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

The city's report on funding transit will be debated at next month's TTC meeting, only days before the deadline for input, a move that comes amid sharpening rhetoric at city hall.

A snap motion by Councillor Josh Colle at the end of the monthly TTC meeting called for the report, which includes several taxes and fees, to be discussed May 24.

"We should review it, at the very least, and maybe have comment on it," Mr. Colle said after the motion passed. "This will be one formal mechanism to have the city opine on these tools and so I think it's important the transit commission lends their voice to that."

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He also said that they should have the 30 votes needed to debate the report at the council meeting May 7. TTC Chairwoman Karen Stintz was equally optimistic the broader debate will happen as well.

On May 27, the board of the regional transit agency Metrolinx will sign off on an investment strategy for funding the next generation of transit. On Tuesday, Mayor Rob Ford's cabinet-like executive committee decided to defer discussion until the 28th, removing Toronto's voice from the discourse.

The debate has heated up at city hall.

Mr. Ford has repeatedly said that he can't accept citizens having to pay more. Although he doesn't have the power to stop the province imposing a plan for funding regional transit, his chief of staff is eager to campaign against councillors willing to discuss new charges.

On Wednesday, Ms. Stintz was caustic about Mr. Ford, saying he had "abdicated his responsibility" on the transit file. And Mr. Colle, when asked about the idea of being targeted in the next election, was heavily sarcastic.

"Sure, that a very productive way to govern, you know, threaten councillors," he told reporters. "That's all we need. That's worked successfully to date."

With a report from Elizabeth Church

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