Province defends Transit City funding delays
TORONTO - Toronto is calling it short-sighted but Ontario's finance minister says the slowing of transit projects is all about getting the province's fiscal house in order.
Thursday's budget postponed some $4 billion in transit spending, and that has Mayor David Miller sounding off.
Miller is accusing the province of balancing budgets by putting a stop to "building the future."
He says that's the "most short-sighted thing" he has ever seen a government do.
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan says the provincial government is simply going to stage transit projects over a longer period.
Miller says asking the Metrolinx regional transit agency to delay some of the $9.3 billion in transit projects mean delays in creating thousands of well-paying jobs in construction, manufacturing and engineering.
The mayor says even though Premier Dalton McGuinty announced transit funding four times the message now is, "oops, it's not there, you're going to have to wait another generation."
Duncan, in an interview Friday with The Canadian Press, said the timetable for a number of transit projects not scheduled to start for a number of years will be slowed down.
Miller is a "passionate advocate of public transit -- we've always respected his position on these issues," Duncan said.
"We are faced with a number of difficult choices and we look forward to working with our partners to ensure that we get back to a balanced budget."