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Trudeau promises federal funding for SmartTrack, GO expansion

TORONTO – Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has matched Conservative leader Stephen Harper and promised $2.6 billion in federal funding for Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack project as well as an additional $2 billion for the province’s GO Train service.

Trudeau announced his promise Thursday morning alongside transportation minister Stephen Del Duca, saying he is fully committed to fund the federal share of SmartTrack and the province’s Regional Express Rail project.

“GO train service means that you can get to work every morning and get back for dinner at the end of a long day. It means, if you live in Milton you can get into an afternoon Jays game. It means if you live downtown, you visit your family in Whitby for Thanksgiving dinner. After years of under investment from the Harper government, new Liberal government will invest properly in the GO train network,” Trudeau said.

“We will fully fund the federal share of the provinces funding request for the Regional Express Rail project for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. All told, it means a $2 billion investment in GO… In addition, that electrification would also enable the SmartTrack project to go ahead. A project that we will help build in partnership with the City of Toronto.”

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Tory released a statement shortly after the announcement was made, welcoming Trudeau’s pledge.

“I welcome Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s pledge to invest in regional express rail and more specifically, to fund the $2.6 billion federal portion of SmartTrack,” Tory said in a statement.

“SmartTrack will be built. It will cut congestion on the Yonge subway line and our roadways, connect people to jobs and bring opportunity to all four corners of our city.”

Conservative leader Stephen Harper made a similar promise in June, saying he would fund the $2.6 billion needed for transit funding in Toronto.

READ MORE: Harper announces $2.6 billion in funding for SmartTrack

“What is clear is we have real partners at both the provincial and federal level who will build transit in Toronto and understand the critical need for SmartTrack,” Tory said in his statement.

“We now have express commitments to fund SmartTrack from both Mr. Trudeau and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has also committed to creating a transit fund that could fund the federal investment in SmartTrack.”

In September, Mulcair announced his party would invest $1.6 billion of $7.2 billion in transit funding to the Toronto area that would flow in the first four years if it forms the government.

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Despite Trudeau’s billion dollar announcement Thursday, Tory has repeatedly said he will not be endorsing any political party.

READ MORE: What do local politicians have to gain from picking sides in the federal election?

“I don’t think it’s my place to endorse a party. I’m not sure anybody is sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for me to tell them how to vote. They’ll make up their own minds,” Tory said Tuesday when speaking with media.

“What I will do – sometime between now and election day … is comment on some of the issues that are out there that you know we have a continuing concern with respect to housing on the part of all of the parties.”

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