Rob Ford to push for transit, housing funding at Big City Mayors’ meeting

ABOVE: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford held a campaign-style press conference ahead of an upcoming big city mayors meeting – but didn’t feel like taking the conversation much further. Jackson Proskow explains. 

TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will push for transit and housing infrastructure funding at the Big City Mayors’ meeting in Ottawa on Wednesday.

“Folks, the reality is years of under investing has left us far behind. The federal government must acknowledge the unique needs of the largest city in Canada,” Ford told reporters during a press conference at city hall Tuesday morning.

The meeting is made up of regional representatives from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) member cities which the mayor has never attended in the past.

Ford’s request for more funds comes less than a month after he and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, were the only ones to vote against a motion to ask for further financial aid from the federal government to Toronto Community Housing in the Feb. 11 federal budget.

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Still, the mayor maintains money is available from the feds with the announcement of a new $14 billion Building Canada Fund designated for cities and municipalities across Canada.

“The city of Toronto welcomes this federal investment. As mayor, it is my job to make sure Toronto receives its fair share of this funding,” he said.

The Building Canada Fund, initially announced in the 2013 budget, will replace a similar seven-year program that expires on March 31.

Officials say existing Toronto Community Housing units are approaching the end of their life cycle with the cost of repairs and new construction costing the city over $2.6-billion over the next 10 years.

“This is a staggering burden that with cannot bare on our own,” he said.

Ford says even though he welcomes the federal government’s $660-million investment into extending Toronto’s subway system in Scarborough, he believes more is needed to develop the downtown relief line, extending the Sheppard line and Finch subway line.

“I’m not just going to give them reports. I don’t want to frustrate our federal colleagues through paperwork. They know what our needs are,” he said.

“I didn’t work that way through the subway, I, as you know, have my contacts up in Ottawa and they’ve treated us very well.”

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WATCH: Mayor Ford outlines his agenda for the big city mayor’s meeting – but abruptly walks out when asked about his illicit drug use

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