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TTC to raise fares by ten cents in 2012?

When demonstrators from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) stormed into Committee Room 1 in Toronto’s City Hall on Thursday, they interrupted a presentation to the Budget Committee from the City’s Chief Financial Officer, Cam Weldon, which painted a gloomy picture for municipal and TTC services as early as next year.

That gloomy picture may mean that you’ll have to spend more to ride the TTC next year — or try to get around town with less transit service than you’re used to.

While the City can balance this year’s budget without increasing property taxes or transit fares, it’s facing a $774 million shortfall for the 2012 budget.

The shortfall results from the City having to replace the $360 million in one-time funds it used to balance this year’s budget and $414 million for the cost of wages and benefits, supplies and other items next year.

To help fill the gap the City’s finance officials are recommending that the City plan to increase property taxes by two per cent and transit fares by 10 cents fare in 2012.

Even the revenue from increasing fares and property taxes won’t eliminate the shortfall, so City staff hope to work with provincial officials, aiming to encourage the province to cover some or all of the annual costs to operate the TTC.

Otherwise, transit passengers may face deep cuts to service in 2012 — likely even deeper than the TTC plan to reduce late-evening and weekend service along 41 routes starting in May this year.