Budget Analysis - Transportation

Summary: City of Ottawa expenditure on roads and transit

The following tables summarize the results from the detailed capital and operational expenditures as dissected in the spreadsheets available further down on this page.   These numbers have been derived from the City of Ottawa 2010 thru 2013 budget documents.

A spreadsheet, summarizing the operating and capital costs for roads vs transit and walking/cycling over the longer period from 2003 to 2013 period has also been compiled. This spreadsheet can be downloaded to your PC by clicking on the following Capital and Operating Costs Summary link or can be viewed online using this view Capital and Operating Cost summary.

Recent Years Summary:

Table 1A: Operational and Capital Expenditures on Roads

   (millions of $)
 2012 Roads
 2012 "on
the move"
 2013 Roads
 Operating Costs134 145  150 142 
 Capital Costs 152 131 129119 94
 Total Spending / Investment 286 276 279
 119 236

In 2012 "Ottawa On the Move" accelerates investments in road re-pavings and renewals (water & sewer projects) and anticipates compensating with lower than usual investments in the following years 2013, 2014, 2015.  For 2012 this has the net effect of an effective investment in roads of 398m$ in 2012.

Table 1B: Operational and Capital Expenditures on Transit

   (millions of $)
2013 Transit 
 Operating Costs 424     438
 452 463
 Offset by Revenue (eg Transit Fares, etc) -200 -210 -214 -211
 Net Operating Costs 224 228 238252 
 Capital Costs 256 161 72
 Total Spending / Investment 480 389 310

Notes: The Transit Operating Costs above include 30m$ for ParaTranspo and also includes debt and interest payments on past borrowings to fund transit capital projects.

Table 1C:  Operational and Capital Expenditures on Walking and Cycling

   (millions of $)
2012 On the Move Cycling
 2013 Cycling

2012 Walking

On the move walking
2013 Walking
 Operating Costs (note 3)
  8.9 (note 3)  11.6
 Capital Costs (new paths, sidewalks, lanes) 2 12.1

9.3 (note 4)
 Capital Costs (new ped bridges) 
(note 6)
 3.8  1.75 3.8  1.75
 Audible signals, Traffic Calming,Countdown timers (note 1)   

 Portion from renewals during sewer work (note 2)  6 (note 5)  0         1.5  7.2 (note 5)
 Total Spending / Investment
(including "On the Move" Portion)
18.1  5.5 24.7
 11.2 6.5

2012   Total Investment in Cycling 2+3.8+18.1=23.9m$  and for Walking is 28.5+11.2=39.7m$.  However the 'On The Move' program of 2012 pulls forward 3 future years of investment into a single year and so ia atypical.  Another approach could have been to divide the 'On the Move' portion in 3 and add that amount to 2012, 2013, and 2014 in order to get a more 'normalized' impression of the level of spending on walking and cycling.

  1. the table above includes expenditures related not only for infrastructure (sidewalks, paths, cycle lanes, pedestrian bridges including costs of their design) but also  traffic calming, pedestrian countdown signals, etc.  Ie. things in the City transportation budget not related to moving more cars faster.  Note in 2012 this figure was boosted by a '1-off' allocation of 2.5m$ for traffic calming which is not expected to be repeated again anytime soon.
  2.  It also tries to make an estimate for the fact there is some investment in new and improved sidewalks and/or widenings for cycle lanes that happens during many road reconstructions for sewer and water upgrades and/or pavement re-surfacing projects
  3. The budget does not provide information on operational costs for maintaining sidewalks or pathways (eg snow removal) however in other city documents (benchmarking reports on cost/km of maintaining roads and sidewalks) there is a footnote in 2011 which declared that 2.2m$ is spent on sidewalk and pathway maintenance in the summer and a further 6.7m$ is spent in winter.  (some of the benefit of these expenses accrues to cycling as well). In the 2012 a query by the Walk Ottawa group to the City Treasurer asking what the City spends on maintaining and operating sidewalks was answered with a number of 11.6m$ so this number has been adopted in the 2013 column.
  4. 2012 Walking Capital - 7.7M$ for walking capital is for the pedestrian bridge over 417 at the train station (some of the benefit of that investment accrues to cycling as well but is not reflected in the table).
  5. 2012 On the Move Walking - Notes:  of the 241M$ of On The Move earmarked for road and sewer rehab, it was stated that 6M$ of that would be used to improve cycling on the roads being renewed. No similar number was given for how much of the 241M$ would go towards fixing/improving sidewalks so an assumption was made that 3% of the total (7.2m$) would benefit sidewalks 
  6. This includes the costs for environmental assessments, detailed design, and construction of pedestrian bridges.  These projects can be scattered about in various places in the City budget (sometimes under Transit capital when involved in accessing a transit station, sometimes under Transportation growth, and sometimes as a 'strategic' project).  For the purposes of this analysis the costs are divided 50:50 between pedestrian and cycling.  The projects included are:
    1. 2012: Bridge over 417 between Coventry Rd and Train Station (7.7m$)
    2. 2013: Bridge over O-Train tracks at Hickory St (1.5m$)
    3. 2013: Funds for detailed design of bridge over Canal at 5th and Clegg (2m$)

These numbers in these tables may appear different from the values listed directly in the budget documents. Changes have been made in order to try and more accurately portray the expenditures that are focused on the different modes of transportation. This is necessary because sometimes there are pedestrian focused expenditures in the transit budget, or cycling focused expenditures in the roads budget, or roads focused expenditures in the water and sewer budget, etc.  Using the more detailed spreadsheets below we have tried to sort those out so that the numbers listed in the tables above give a best possible approximation to the level of expenditures directed towards these different modes.  Making the picture sometimes more confusing is that similar expenditures can be listed in different ways from year to year.  The spreadsheets below attempt to normalize these different variables.

Estimate of Roads & Transit spending paid from property taxes

Another dimension to understanding these expenditures emerges when also considering the sources of funds used for financing the above spending.  The costs in the last row of the tables above are not all financed by the property taxes of citizens.  Some of the funding comes from development charges paid for from new construction growth in the city, or from transfers from other levels of government, or from taking on new debt (usually paid back later out of property taxes).

The next tables then, complete the picture with the final row showing how much of the road and transit spending is ultimately financed by property taxes.

Table 2A: Sources of Funding for Expenditures on Roads

    (millions of $)
 2013 Roads
Operating+Capital Spending (last line of table 1A above)286 276 398 236
 Funding from Development Charges -75     -40 -87 -42
from other levels of govt (eg gas taxes, stimulus fund) -32 -25 -0 -0
 Funding from new debt-30-39-153 -40
Remaining =  Funded by Property Taxes   135 158 158 154
  Funded by Residential Property Taxes = 73% (note 1) 96 115 115 112
 Cost in $ per average yrly residential property tax bill
 (assuming 376,000 households (2011) growing 6000/yr)
 $255  $306  $301 $290

2012:  All of the road specific costs attributed to "On the Move"  (119M$ out of 340M$ total) were assumed to be funded by new debt (as opposed to from 2012 taxes).

Table 2B: Sources of Funding for Expenditures on Transit
    (millions of $)
 2013 Transit
Operating+Capital-Fares (last line of table 1B above) 480     389
 310 313
 Funding from Development Charges -22 -8 -3 -4
Funding from other levels of govt (eg gas taxes) -54 -27 -59 -29
 Funding from new debt-27 -31 -2.5 -2.5
Remaining =  Funded by Property Taxes   361 294 245 277
  Funded by Residential Property Taxes = 73% (note 1) 264 215
 179 203
  Cost in $ per average yrly residential property tax bill
 (assuming 376,000 households (2011) growing 6000/yr)
  $702  $571

 $468 $522

Note 1: 27% of total property taxes collected in Ottawa are paid by commercial enterprises.  The remaining 73% comes from household property taxes

The final row in the above tables is an approximate indicator of how much of the average property tax bill is directed per year towards capital and operating expenditures for roads and transit within the City of Ottawa.  

Capital Spending:  Roads and Transit - Details

Below is a spreadsheet which gives a more detailed summary for comparison purposes of capital expenditures on Roads versus Transit in the City of Ottawa for the past year 2010 and the current year 2011.

Estimating the Roads capital expenditures requires combining 2 different items from the way in which the City portrays its budget information.   These items are:

   1. Transportation Capital Budget
  •  in this budget is listed a number of specific road projects which can be added to easily come up with a cost for new investment in roads
  • also in this budget is a number of non-road specific items (streetlights, walking, cycling, traffic lights, traffic control systems, road modifications to add turning lanes to existing roads, etc).  For this part of the budgeted capital expenditures, only those amounts which were clearly related to moving more cars (road modifications, traffic control system and traffic light expenditures) were extracted and added to the specific road expansion projects capital to come to a number which approximates spending on helping to move more cars
  2. Integrated Roads, Sewer and Water Capital Budget.
  • the majority of costs in this separate budget item are related to sewer and water construction projects however there is some component of these costs that can be related to the re-paving and re-design of the roads as part of the overall project.  In the City documents they sometimes reveal for specific sewer projects what amount is related to the road work.  Usually this turns out to be approximately 20% of the total project cost, so to approximate this additional road related spending a line item of 20% of the total Integrated Roads, Sewer, and Water Capital Budget was added to capture the specific component of the investments in road infrastructure.  
  • Similarly some portion of the Integrated Roads, Sewer, and Water Capital expenditures also go towards sidewalks and streetscraping.  There seems to be no sources of information to help determine an approximate amount to allocate for this purpose so 3% was assumed.
The spreadsheet below is used to estimate the above amounts.

By scrolling further down on the spreadsheet, more detailed information is recorded for specific road and transit capital projects as described in the City's budget documents.

A 2nd spreadsheet, summarizing the operating and capital costs for roads vs transit and walking/cycling over the 2003 to 2013 period has also been compiled. This spreadsheet can be downloaded for viewing by clicking on the following Capital and Operating Costs Summary link.

Capital Budget - Transportation,Transit - City of Ottawa

Operational Costs: Roads and Transit - Details

Following is a table indicating the operational costs of the City of Ottawa for operation of the road and transit networks within the city.   The summary of these results is presented in the summary section at the top of this page.

Operating Budget - Transportation,Transit - City of Ottawa