10/02/2012 10:09 EDT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:12 EST

Toronto developers could help fund transit growth

Toronto's chief planner says developers behind mega-projects could be called upon to contribute funding to help expand the city's transit infrastructure.

Jennifer Keesmaat said that under section 37 of the planning act, developers can make a deal for more height or higher density in exchange for making contributions to the community.

Amid a much-publicized and dramatic proposal by famed Canadian architect Frank Gehry and theatre mogul David Mirvish to build a three-tower complex at King and John Streets, Keesmaat said it might be time to examine how the city's transit crunch could benefit from big construction projects.

"That would be one way, to take section 37 monies and put them in a fund specifically for transit," she said.

"We need to do some work in that area to make sure we are getting the kinds of public benefits that we ought to be getting."

The city has made millions of dollars through such deals over the years, but there are still several other options to consider for how to cover transit expansion costs, including property taxes to parking levies.