April 15, 2014
The Ontario government plan to build a seamless and integrated transportation network across the province -- Moving Ontario Forward -- will create jobs, boost productivity and help every part of Ontario grow and prosper, says Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
The plan, released this week, would put in place dedicated and substantial funding for public transit and transportation infrastructure. It would make nearly $29 billion available over the next 10 years for investments in priority infrastructure projects across the province such as public transit, roads, bridges and highways.
"This is our chance to fix transit and infrastructure for now and for the future and help every part of Ontario grow. 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 says in a press release.
The province would create two dedicated funds - one for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) with up to $15 billion available for investment in transit and one for the rest of the province with nearly $14 billion available for investment in roads, bridges, transit and other critical infrastructure.
"Infrastructure is the backbone to our economy. Providing two new dedicated funds for public transit and transportation infrastructure projects, both inside and outside the GTHA, would help advance our communities as we know them," says Glen Murray, Ontario's minister of transportation and infrastructure.
Funding sources for Moving Ontario Forward would include new revenue measures, repurposed revenues and a responsible level of debt financing, when needed. Measures would include:
• Repurposing the existing Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) that is charged on the current provincial taxes on gasoline and road diesel. • Redirecting 7.5 cents of the existing gas tax. This would be over and above the permanent two cents that goes directly to municipalities to fund transit infrastructure. • The value resulting from a review of key government assets would go to the proposed Trillium Trust and be directed towards this plan, as would; • Proceeds from the previously announced Green Bonds program.
"We are taking important steps to invest in improving public transit and transportation for the people of Ontario," says Minister of Finance Charles Sousa. "Funds would be dedicated to help support infrastructure projects that will spur economic growth and job creation, without raising taxes on our low- and middle-income earners and without raising the tax on gasoline or HST."
Modernizing public infrastructure is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.
• The government’s funding plan would not increase the tax on gasoline, HST, or personal income taxes on low- and middle-income earners. • Further details about this plan will be provided in Ontario’s upcoming Budget. • The two new infrastructure funds proposed in Moving Ontario Forward would be in addition to the proposed Trillium Trust the government announced last fall. • Ontario’s 2013 Budget committed $35 billion in investments to modernize infrastructure over three years, supporting more than 100,000 jobs a year. • According to one study, congestion in the GTHA is costing Ontarians and the economy $6 billion a year in the region alone. That cost is projected to rise to $15 billion by 2031. • Initiatives outside the GTHA include infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire, funding for transportation delivered by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and strategic highway improvements. • Since 2003, the Ontario government made significant investments in infrastructure. Highlights include more than 7,900 kilometres of roads built or re-built, 10 new GO Train stations built, 23 new hospitals built or underway and nearly 650 new schools opened.
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