Ontario Liberals pledge to spend $29B on transit, transportation
The Ontario Liberals have promised to invest about $29 billion over the next decade into public transportation, highways, roads and bridges.
Speaking to a noon-hour business crowd at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York hotel, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the projects will be funded by redirecting part of the existing gas and sales taxes into provincial infrastructure.
"For too many years, successive governments haven't been prepared to make the investments to get this province moving," Wynne said Monday.
She said up to $15 billion of the newly announced investment will be available for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, with the remainder going to projects in the rest of the province.
Wynne said all Harmonized Sales Taxes (HST) that is charged on gas, along with 7.5 cents of the existing gas tax, will be rerouted toward "priority" infrastructure projects. She said proceeds from the Green Bonds program will also be used for the projects.
Wynne said new revenue measures will be also be raised to fund the projects, however, she did not detail those plans. The premier said more information will be revealed in the spring budget, expected next month.
"This is our chance to fix transit and infrastructure for now and for the future and help every part of Ontario grow," Wynne said a in statement on Monday. "We need to act now, and do everything in our power to fire up our economy and create jobs for today and jobs for tomorrow."
Wynne said congestion in the GTA and Hamilton areas cost the economy about $6 billion a year. That cost is projected to balloon to $15 billion by 2031.