Ontario Infrastructure Spending_____________________________
Of Note:Ontario will spend its way out of the recession with an "unprecedented" $27.5 billion cash infusion to improve public
transit, roads, schools and hospitals over the next two years.
The money includes: about $9 billion for transportation, $7 billion for hospitals and other health projects such as
long-term care, $4 billion for education and $850 million for municipal infrastructure.
The two-year infrastructure spending program is the largest in Ontario’s history.
The announcement is a good omen for Toronto’s plans to refurbish and expand its streetcar lines with new Euro-style light-rail vehicles._____________________________________________________________________________________________
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Mar 24, 2009 06:57 AM
QUEEN’S PARK BUREAU
Ontario will spend its way out of the recession with an "unprecedented" $27.5 billion cash infusion to improve public transit, roads, schools and hospitals over the next two years, Premier Dalton McGuinty says.The money will be topped up with $5 billion from January’s federal budget for a total of $32.5 billion in new infrastructure spending
, but there were no details yesterday on which projects will go ahead from a wish list that includes Toronto Transit Commission plans for more light-rail lines.
"It’s a big number, but, you know what? It needs to be done. Inaction is not an option," said McGuinty, who repeated the government will reveal an $18 billion deficit for the current fiscal year and next year in its budget on Thursday
The money includes: about $9 billion for transportation, $7 billion for hospitals and other health projects such as long-term care, $4 billion for education and $850 million for municipal infrastructure.
With the provincial government typically spending about $16 billion every two years on infrastructure, the $27.5 billion over two years represents a substantial increase if the money flows as promised. McGuinty said the two-year infrastructure spending program is the largest in Ontario’s history.Details on specific projects, some of which remain the subject of negotiations with the federal government, will come in the budget
, McGuinty told reporters after the announcement at St. Joseph’s Health Centre
in Toronto’s west end. He would not say whether cash-strapped municipalities like Toronto will be required to pitch in money to qualify for the "massive" fund designed to create or support 300,000 jobs in the province.
But a senior government source hinted cities might have to pony up some cash
, noting the province gave municipalities $1.1 billion for infrastructure projects last fall.
"Not all municipalities have spent it," the source said.
Toronto Mayor David Miller said he’s waiting for details.
"I hope it’s good news," he said at city hall, adding his priority is money for light-rail transit, less expensive to build and operate than subway lines.
TTC chair Adam Giambrone said that "any way you cut it," the announcement is a good omen for Toronto’s plans to refurbish and expand its streetcar lines with new Euro-style light-rail vehicles.
He said it vindicates the TTC's efforts to get three of seven Transit City light-rail lines ready to begin construction this year and next.
Work is to begin on the Sheppard East Transit City line in September, and on the Eglinton and Finch West lines next year.
The light-rail vehicle contract, worth $1.25 billion to $3 billion, would include an option to build hundreds more cars.
"That’s obviously critical and it creates jobs in Ontario because they’re going to be manufactured in Ontario whether it’s Siemens (Canada) or Bombardier
," Giambrone said.
Yesterday’s announcement signals that Metrolinx’s "Big Move" recommendations, released last fall for more than 100 projects such as York Region's Viva bus rapid transit and express GO train service, are more than a dream, said agency chair Rob MacIsaac.
"Based on what we’re seeing today, the province is making good on its commitment to the Big Move and transit across the province
," he said.
But NDP Leader Andrea Horwath blasted McGuinty for his lack of specifics in yesterday’s announcement. "It is a big number, (but) the thing that I’m most concerned about is I don’t see a vision," she told reporters.
The Progressive Conservatives said the number of jobs the infrastructure fund will create or save is barely enough to keep pace with 300,000 manufacturing jobs lost in the province in the last few years.
"Ontarians expect to see a plan that’s going to get them back to work, so they can provide for their families and have some hope for the future," said interim party leader Bob Runciman.http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/607243____________________________________________________________________________________________