John Tory reiterated his “guarantee” in a Wednesday radio interview that property taxes will not go up in order to finance his SmartTrack line, adding that “there will be hell to pay” if the upper levels of government don’t pitch in two thirds of his $8-billion scheme.
CBC Metro Morning host Matt Galloway grilled Mr. Tory on his funding plan for the 53-kilometre transit line that he bills as a “surface subway” and that will largely be built on an existing rail corridor. He says he can complete it in seven years.
In order to fund her government’s ambitious $29-billion transit and infrastructure plan, Kathleen Wynne is prepared to borrow up to $7-billion, if needed, in order to avoid charging Ontarians.
Another $2.5-billion would come from the federal government, through its Building Canada Plan — if, in fact, that money is granted to the province.
Two-thirds of the 10-year plan will be paid for in the ways Ms. Wynne has previously announced — by shifting gas taxes towards transit and repurposing revenues from existing HST from gas, resulting in $1.2-billion annually.
Metrolinx, the provincial agency tasked with improving public transit in greater Toronto, held a board meeting at its headquarters on Bay Street Thursday. Unfortunately for transit users frustrated with overcrowded streetcars and buses, relief appears to be a number of years away.
REGIONAL EXPRESS RAIL
The preliminary concept for Regional Express Rail would see electrification to each of Go Transit’s seven corridors in the GTHA, making trips 10-25% quicker and improving the frequency to as little as 15 minutes apart.
OTTAWA — The devil is in the details of the federal government’s new $14-billion infrastructure program.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled the Building Canada Fund this week, saying “our commitment to small communities has never been stronger.”
But what he didn’t mention is that the 10-year program will actually limit funding for local roads — the biggest infrastructure need of small communities — and tighten requirements for public-private partnership spending on community projects.
The Petronas Bhd.-sponsored Pacific Northwest LNG project is seeking debt-financing, reportedly for as much as US$10-billion to US$15-billion, for its liquefied natural gas project on the West Coast. It would be the biggest debt financing deal in Canada.
“Yes, we have contracted Société Générale S.A. as the financial advisor. They will be going out and looking to acquire financing for the project,” Spencer Sproule, a spokesman for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, told the Financial Post, but he declined to confirm other details.
TORONTO — Temporary HOV lanes will be set up in southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe to shuttle athletes, coaches and the media during the 2015 Pan Am Games, officials announced Friday, but the Opposition warned the plan will create “traffic chaos.”
The Toronto Pan Am transportation plan calls for a 150-kilometre-long continuous network of high occupancy vehicle lanes from Hamilton to Oshawa, incorporating existing HOV lanes on the Queen Elizabeth Way and Highway 404.
TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took steps Thursday to avoid a possible spring election by announcing the Liberal government would not raise taxes on middle-income earners to fund public transit.
“So I just want to be clear, we’re taking those potential revenue tools off the table: increase in HST, increase in gas tax, increases in personal income tax for middle-income families,” Wynne said at a campaign-style stop at a home in mid-Toronto.