TORONTO — Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be in Toronto to make a major transit and infrastructure announcement Thursday.
Harper will be joined by Finance Minister Joe Oliver to make the announcement at the TTC’s Hillcrest Complex. The announcement is expected to involve a significant investment from the federal government.
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.
OTTAWA — The Liberal government is spending billions of dollars to improve transportation within cities, but is only giving Via Rail Canada a tiny portion of the money it says it needs to improve transportation between cities.
Public transit is a key focus of the five-year, $11.9-billion infrastructure-spending plan outlined in the 2016 budget. A new public transit infrastructure fund will invest up to $3.4 billion in transit over three years, divvied up according to each province’s share of national ridership.
TORONTO — Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday the federal government will provide billions of dollars to fund one-third of Toronto Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack transit plan.
Harper promised to contribute $2.6 billion towards SmartTrack, the express rail transit plan that was the lynchpin of Tory’s mandate in the 2014 municipal election.
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.
TORONTO — Via Rail was in talks with Quebec’s pension fund about building a dedicated set of passenger tracks between Quebec City and Toronto, but that fell apart after the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec proposed a $5.5-billion commuter line for Montreal instead.
Via chief executive Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said the development is a mixed blessing, as it shows that there’s investor appetite for rail projects but appears to eliminate a major contender for his own plan.
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.
TORONTO — The governing Liberals are promising to spend $29 billion over the next decade for transit and transportation infrastructure in Ontario.
Premier Kathleen Wynne says up to $15 billion of the money will be available for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
She says the rest will be available to the rest of the province.
Wynne says they’ll fund it by raising new money, re-directing existing revenues and debt financing, including green bonds.
She wouldn’t say how they’ll raise new revenue, saying the details will be in the upcoming budget.
An unknown number of Toronto Transit Commission employees allegedly colluded with a local orthotics shop to bilk the TTC’s benefits plan, police say.
Police raided the Healthy Fit store on Wilson Avenue near Bathurst and arrested the store owner, along with two employees on Tuesday, Det.-Sgt. Robert Stewart said.
A report from the city manager of Toronto says that if city council supports a new casino in the downtown core or at Exhibition Place that there should be a greater emphasis placed on convention space and less on gambling space than OLG’s initial recommendation.