Toronto Mayor Rob Ford suggests that the costs of the city's pressing transit needs may lie with the higher levels of government because "they have many more dollars than we do."
In an interview Wednesday with Matt Galloway on CBC's Metro Morning, a low-key Ford said that as of today he doesn't support taxes or tolls to pay for new TTC infrastructure.
Ford said he hasn't seen a city report made public on Monday that analyzes dedicated revenue sources such as sales taxes and road tolls. Ford said he believed the report was going to be released "either next month or the month after."
Until he sees the report, he said he would not support tolls, user fees, or a return of the vehicle registration tax.
"I don't support any of them right now," he said. "I'm not a tax and spend kind of politician."
Instead, he said the three levels of government are needed to deal with billions in transit expansion costs over the coming years in the Greater Toronto Area.
"Not just the City of Toronto," Ford said.
"We have to sit down with the province and the feds. Obviously they have many more dollars than we do. And I think we'll have to come up with a solution for this transit issue. I cannot sit here today and tell you we're going to implement this tax or that tax. I don't have that information in front of me."
But the report authored by city staff that Ford said he has not seen cast doubts the province's ability or willingness to carry out a planned $50-billion regional transit plan given the $13-billion deficit it is facing. The plan maybe jeopardized "unless new dedicated taxes and fees are implemented to pay for them," the report said.
TTC chair Karen Stintz said later Wednesday that the mayor has been consistent that he doesn't want to see taxes raised, but that she's sure his executive committee will give thoughtful consideration to the funding report's recommendations.
"They [the recommendations] ultimately will go out for public consultation and we'll hear from the public," she said. "I think the public is in some cases ahead of us on this issue and we'll hear from them, and I think council will make an informed decision."
'I'd like to know what I'm doing wrong'
Ford's interview comes after a rough couple of months for the mayor in which he has had to deal with criticism over a widely circulated photo of him driving while reading, a conflict-of-interest trial that could potentially cost him his job, and an admonition from council ally Denzil Minnan-Wong to "smarten up."
Asked by Galloway if he would do anything in recent months differently, Ford said he believes he is doing a good job as mayor and is being targeted by council's "left wing."
"Let's call a spade a spade here," Ford said. "The NDP of council wanted to continue spending and the Liberals and Conservatives don't."
He said he's getting the city turned around financially and pointed to the $168-million sale of Enwave as a success.
"If people disagree with my approach I'd be more than happy to talk to them," he said. "I'd like to know what I'm doing wrong, but according to a lot of people I'm doing a good job."
Bike lane removal costs justified, Ford says
The mayor also reiterated his support for the removal of the bike lanes on Jarvis Street, which will happen in the coming months at a cost of $270,000.
Ford said the lanes never should have been added in the first place because they are "not what the people wanted."
He noted a Toronto Board of Trade report that said congestion is costing Toronto $6 billion a year, and added that separated bike lanes are being built on Sherbourne Street, where painted bike lanes had already existed.
"We should have listened to the people up in Toronto Centre, up in the Rosedale area that use this, that constantly email me my office and say, 'Rob, we've got to get rid of these bike lanes,' " he said.
Ford's vision is lower taxes
Asked what his vision for the city is during his remaining two years in office, Ford said Toronto needs to stimulate its economy.
"The most important social program is a job," he said, adding that the city needs lower commercial tax rates.
“We’re going to have a safe, vibrant city in the next few years and we're already doing it," he said. "But you have to take care of your own fiscal house first and we're getting our house in order, and then we can open up the doors."
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Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford watches players from Don Bosco Eagles, the High School team he coaches, warm up before they compete against the Huron Heights Warriors in the Metro Cup in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 Those whose antics threaten to besmirch the party name normally don't get a second chance with Canada's federal Conservatives. Not so, it would seem, for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford reacts after Don Bosco Eagles, the High School team he coaches, lost 28-14 to Huron Heights Warriors in the Metro Cup in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford hoists the Grey Cup on stage with Toronto Argonauts players while celebrating the team's Grey Cup victory in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Nov.27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses reporters at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to his Don Bosco Eagles team during the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, left, speaks to the media at city hall in Toronto, Monday, Nov.26, 2012. Ford has been ordered out of office after a judge ruled Monday he broke conflict of interest rules.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, walks to attend a toy charity event at city hall in Toronto, Monday, Nov.26, 2012. Ford has been ordered out of office after a judge ruled Monday he broke conflict of interest rules.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks to media at city hall in Toronto, Monday, Nov.26, 2012.Ford has been ordered out of office after a judge ruled Monday he broke conflict of interest rules.
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, makes a few remarks as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens, before the pair signed a new "sister cities" agreement Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, in Chicago.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, makes a light hearted comment as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laughs during the signing of a new "sister cities" declaration Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, in Chicago.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sits on the back of Chicago's First Lady as he takes in an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. Ford was visiting the city on a Toronto-Chicago Business Mission.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, top left, relaxes during a boat tour with members of the Toronto-Chicago Business Mission on the Chicago River waterfront Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, in Chicago.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, top right, waves to photographers during a boat tour with members of the Toronto-Chicago Business Mission on the Chicago River waterfront Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, in Chicago.
Rob Ford Meets Butter Rob Ford
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/31/rob-ford-butter-sculpture-ex-cne_n_1846616.html" target="_hplink">Toronto Mayor Rob Ford comes face to face with a butter sculpture of himself at the Canadian National Exhibition</a>.
Butter Rob Ford
As part of an exhibition at the CNE, Toronto-based artist Olenka Kleban has made a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/24/butter-rob-ford-sculpture_n_1828527.html" target="_hplink">butter sculpture of Toronto's mayor</a>.
Dave Chappelle And Rob Ford
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/22/dave-chappelle-rob-ford_n_1822240.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics" target="_hplink">Comedian Dave Chappelle met briefly with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford</a> on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/14/rob-ford-reading-driving-car-gardiner_n_1776183.html" target="_hplink">Rob Ford is seen reading while driving</a> in this photo from Twitter.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/30/rob-ford-will-ferrell-zach-galifianakis-sketch_n_1719420.html" target="_hplink">Rob Ford meets with comedic actors Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis</a>.
Rob Ford poses with neo-Nazi Jon Latvis. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/26/rob-ford-nazi-photo_n_1707326.html?utm_hp_ref=canada" target="_hplink">Ford's office has explained Toronto's mayor was unaware of the man's beliefs when the image was captured</a>.
Rob Ford's ballet debut
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (left) and city councillor Michelle Berardinetti (right) smile on stage during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
Rob Ford's ballet debut
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acts on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
Rob Ford's ballet debut
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford jumps on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)