Mayor David Miller expressed frustration that the 2010 federal budget contains no funding for building Transit City, one of his legacy projects for building a 120-kilometre network of light-rail mass transit.

"I'm proud of Transit City. It's a program Torontonians are proud of as well ... But you can't build and operate these kinds of programs without permanent, sustained funding at the federal level," he said Thursday in the wake of the Conservative government's new budget.

The Tories ruled Transit City's street cars to be ineligible for federal funding in the spring of 2009, although it did ultimately fund 500 other infrastructure projects in Toronto for a total of $200 million. The city had sought $400 million for the $1.2-billion purchase.

The feds have also previously committed $350 million for TTC improvements and $133 million for the revitalization of Union Station.

Miller said with stimulus programs, once they end, that's it. The federal budget calls for its two-year stimulus spending package to end by March 2011.

"For five years, big-city mayors have been calling for a national transit strategy. One exists in every G8 country. It's time for Canada to find a way to do that too," the mayor said.

Miller said when the construction of the Eglinton LRT line begins, it will stimulate other construction as in-fill projects begin along the line.

"That creates tons of jobs, and that creates tax revenue for Ottawa. They need to think that way," he said,.

Miller added it's good for both the economy and the environment.

However, Miller said there is nothing set out in the framework of the budget that advances the transit agenda.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a European think-tank, issued a report in November that claims traffic congestion costs Toronto billions of dollars in lost productivity.

The OECD laid part of the blame on what it called an underfunded and disjointed transit system. Toronto was listed among the cities with the highest rates of car use and the longest commute times of the countries it studied.

Miller acknowledged the federal government has helped cities with the continuation of the Gas Tax Fund and the GST rebate, but he would have also liked so see national housing and child care strategies.

Mayor Susan Fennell of Brampton said in a news release that she appreciated the federal government was trying to tackle its substantial deficit, estimated at $53.7 billion for this budget year, without downloading to municipalities.

But she also called for long-term, sustainable funding for cities to working on national problems such as street gangs, homelessness and climate change.

The province

Dwight Duncan, Ontario's finance minister, told CTV News Channel's Power Play that he saw the Conservative budget as a "stand-pat document" that leaves some unanswered questions.

In that sense, "there was not a whole lot here we didn't anticipate," he said.

Ontario hopes to deliver a budget before April 1, with some speculating that March 25 will be the date, but Duncan said the provinces have different challenges than the federal government.

"The federal government and federal Parliament will have to come to terms with what role the federal government will play, particularly in health care, as we move forward," he said.

Ontario and other provinces will also be looking to Ottawa for help on the education front to stir productivity, he said.

Hidden cuts, through expiring programs, will cost Ontario hundreds of millions of dollars in federal spending, Duncan said.

However, Ottawa has indicated it will extend the Canada Health and Social Transfer for an additional year, "so that's welcome," he said.