TORONTO - Ontario is being promised up to $7.9 billion in infrastructure funding from the federal government, but it remains to be seen whether the money will help launch the province's proposed $17.5-billion transit plan, government officials said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Tuesday that British Columbia was the first province to sign on to the federal government's new Building Canada plan, which will dedicate $33 billion over seven years for infrastructure projects.

A spokeswoman for Lawrence Cannon, the federal minister of transport, infrastructure and communities, said Ontario's share will be about $7.9 billion, but it must negotiate with the federal government on how the funding can be spent.

Ontario has been petitioning for months for the federal government to pay a third of the cost of its MoveOntario 2020 transit plan, which it boasts would be the largest transit investment in Canadian history and includes 52 projects and 902 kilometres of new or improved rapid transit.

Ontario could finally get that federal commitment, but it depends on the negotiations, said Cannon's spokeswoman Catherine Loubier.

"We're confident that what they have planned for MoveOntario 2020 is going to be answered in the infrastructure plan we've put forward, and we're actively in negotiations with them to make that happen,'' she said.

"Some of these funds could go to transit, but I don't know what the outcome of the negotiations will be.''

But before any money is allocated, the province must satisfy the federal government that the plans fall in line with the principles of the Building Canada program, Loubier said.

The funding for the provinces is meant to focus on 15 priorities, including public transit, border crossings, highways, green energy, disaster mitigation, waste-water treatment, tourism, and sports and culture.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday he still doesn't know if the federal funding will go toward the transit plan.

Ontario Public Infrastructure Renewal Minister David Caplan said he looks forward to finalizing negotiations to secure the federal funding, although he doesn't know when that will happen.

"Certainly we've identified their fund, and we're very eager to get at it because we know our municipal partners need the investment into infrastructure,'' he said.

"I'm bringing options forward for the cabinet to consider in short order, and I'm very excited about it.''

Loubier said the federal government hopes to finalize negotiations and have the funding allocated to all provinces by the end of the year.