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Trudeau announces transit funding: will it be sufficient to meet Ontario’s big ask?

 

Trudeau announces transit funding: will it be sufficient to meet Ontario’s big ask?

John Best

Prime Minister Trudeau has announced a permanent fund to support public transit. The announcement establishes the creation of a permanent public transit fund of $3 billion per year, beginning in 2026-27 . To cover the five years between now and 2026 the government has allocated almost $6 Billion or roughly $1 Billion per year. The question is whether these funds will be sufficient to support the 5- project transit ask that Ontario announced yesterday. The Province announced it was asking Federal support for the following projects:

Ontario top 5 projects

Ontario Line: $10.9 billion.

Scarborough subway: $5.5 billion.

Yonge extension to Richmond Hill: $5.6 billion.

Eglinton West extension: $4.7 billion.

Hamilton LRT $2.5 Billion

Other funding sources?

The total for all of these priority projects is $29 Billion. The province has committed to spending $12.2 billion — more than one-third of the total cost — on the projects. The federal share, using the existing formula, would work out to about $9 Billion. These capital projects would be spread out over a number of years, but Ontario’s needs will result in a significant draw on the available funding which has to be shared with all of the provinces and territories. The Bay Observer asked the Prime |Minister’s office if there is any other fund from Ottawa that might be tapped for the Ontario wish-list. A spokesperson replied as follows: “Today we announced $5.9B of new money over five years, starting in 2021, to accelerate job-creating projects across the country on a project by project basis. We depend on the Provinces to set their project priorities and provide the information needed to make decisions on funding. We look forward to receiving more information and business cases for these projects and getting the information needed to move projects forward.”

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested more than $13 billion for public transit projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

The grants have resulted in over 1,300 projects right across the country, including more than 247 km of new public transit subway and light rail line, 300 zero-emission buses and almost 500 km of active transportation trails, bike and pedestrian lanes and recreational paths.

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