GTHA politicians fight for transit funding from Wynne government
TORONTO – Municipal leaders in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) want the province to pony up for local transit priorities now.
But which transit projects will be approved and funded is still up for debate.
Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow said the Yonge North Subway Extension is ‘shovel ready’ and should be at the top of the list.
“I would suggest and, I quite frankly believe, that the province has the mandate,” he said. “They now have the approved budget that has funding in it and now is the time to make this project a priority.”
The provincial budget has allotted $15 billion for transportation infrastructure in the GTHA over the next 10 years.
Metrolinx has been given six months to develop an implementation plan.
“We have our Next Wave projects which are priority projects that we have committed to,’ said spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins.”We need to figure out how to implement that plan. What makes sense? In what order?”
Rapid transit in Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton are among the projects being considered as a part of that process.
Ontario’s new transportation minister, Steven Del Duca, met with officials in Hamilton Friday.
The province committed to funding new transit in that city but wouldn’t say if it was for light rail transit (LRT) or new bus corridors.
“Some people are excited about beginning construction this day of an LRT,” said Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina. “The minister wisely said there’s a lot of discussion that will have to take place.”
Regional Express Rail (RER) has also been identified as a priority for the province in the immediate future.
That plan would see all-day GO train service, with electrification on all lines across the network.
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