Toronto getting nearly $474M transportation boost from federal government
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, August 23, 2016 3:29PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 23, 2016 4:09PM EDT
Toronto is set to receive a much-needed boost in federal funding to help with an array of transportation projects around the city.
The funding is part of a $1.49 billion federal fund to support transit projects in Ontario. The fund was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne at an event in Barrie Tuesday morning.
Mayor John Tory laid out the specifics of what Toronto will receive at a news conference with Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau at St. Clair West Subway Station later in the day.
“Over the next two years in partnership with our federal government, Toronto will embark on an ambitious schedule of repair, renewal, enhancement and expansion,” Tory said. “With our federal partners contributing up to $840 million for this work, the City of Toronto will match their contributions for each project 50-50.”
Toronto will get a total of $474 million to help with transit-related projects. Of that money, $360 million is going to TTC improvements, such as fixing subways and streetcars and making stations more accessible.
The rest of the money will go to improved cycling, pedestrian safety and other projects that are transit-related.
How the city will spend $474 million in federal transportation funding
- $360 million to improve reliability, accessibility and safety on the TTC. The money will also help buy new Wheel Trans vehicles, and fix stations, tracks, escalators and other infrastructure.
- $40 million for transit planning and design, including SmartTrack
- $42 million to expand the city’s cycling network, including bike parking and bike share facilities at more than 40 TTC stations
“These are very significant steps forward for the city of Toronto in a number of respects,” Tory said.
He said that while state of good repair projects are not always ‘sexy,’ they are essential to making sure that transit service functions effectively and efficiently. He also acknowledged that there is “always more to do.”
“We have to start somewhere and this is a very solid start,” Tory said.
Tory said the federal funding has nothing to do with a current funding shortfall for the TTC in the city’s budget process and that he still expects the transit commission to find some efficiencies inside their budget.
While Tory lauded the contribution, he said the city is still pressing for sustained funding from higher levels of government for transit in the city, as is the case in many similar large cities in the world.
“It is absolutely not viable to have a system rely on property taxes and fare-paying customers,” Tory said.
Toronto is eligible to receive a total of up to $840 million from the federal fund, but a project list has not yet been submitted to claim the rest of the funds.