The City of Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee will consider a program aimed at recovering repair and rehabilitation costs from companies that cut into the City’s roads to install, maintain or upgrade their facilities underneath the streets.
The introduction of pavement degradation fees at the committee’s March 2 meeting would allow the City to recover the costs of fixing and maintaining roads that have been severely affected by cuts to the roadway. This is based on research that shows the damage caused by cuts to roads requires the City to repair these roads more quickly that would ordinarily be the case.
These utility cuts have resulted in the premature deterioration of our roadways and have forced the City into significant costs to repair our infrastructure. In an average year, utility cuts require a total of between 200,000 – 300,000 square metres of permanent pavement restoration work. To put this in perspective, 250,000 square metres of pavement work is equivalent to reconstructing Yonge Street (four lanes) from Lake Ontario to Steeles Avenue each year.
Currently, the City spends more than $240 million to repair roads each year. In addition, about $70 million is spent on other work including road work in conjunction with watermain and sewer replacement and public realm initiatives. In 2007, the City approved a Personal Vehicle Tax that is being used to offset these costs.
The City currently recovers costs associated with the work to repair cuts which is valued at about $43 million a year. The implementation of pavement degradation fees will result in an average of $4 million for the City to repair portions of roads that have degraded due to the numerous cuts by multiple companies. The money collected from these companies and organizations would go into a reserve fund that would be used for construction, resurfacing and maintenance of the City’s roads.