Premier Wynne Unveils Plan to Create Jobs, Modernize Transportation Infrastructure

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Premier Wynne: "In 1971, three million people lived in the Toronto Metropolitan Area.  By 2011, the population had doubled to six million. But the building stopped in the late 80's and 90's. Virtually no new transit lines were built. Consider that, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area we are losing at least $6 billion in productivity every year. " image: Gridlock summer day on highway 401

Premier Wynne: “In 1971, three million people lived in the Toronto Metropolitan Area.
By 2011, the population had doubled to six million.
But the building stopped in the late 80’s and 90’s.
Virtually no new transit lines were built.
Consider that, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area we are losing at least $6 billion in productivity every year. ” image: Gridlock summer day on highway 401

Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced the Ontario government’s plan to build a seamless and integrated transportation network across the province — Moving Ontario Forward — to create jobs, boost productivity and help every part of Ontario grow and prosper.

The robust plan 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. 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.

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Funding sources for Moving Ontario Forward would include new revenues 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.

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.

QUOTE

“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.”

­ — Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

 

“We are taking important steps to invest in improving public transit and transportation for the people of Ontario. 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.”

— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance

Glen Murray Minister of Transportation image courtesy of urbantoronto.ca

Glen Murray Minister of Transportation image courtesy of urbantoronto.ca

“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. The planned investments announced today by the Premier would better serve Ontario tomorrow, and well into the future.”

—Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure

 

QUICK FACTS

 

  • 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.

 

LEARN MORE

 

Read about the Metrolinx Investment Strategy.

 

Supplemental- Remarks by Premier Kathleen Wynne on Moving Ontario Forward

Good afternoon! Bonjour, Ahnee and Bojoo. I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit.

Thanks Glen [Murray] for that very kind introduction and for the fantastic work you’ve been doing as our Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

I’d like to thank all of you for joining us here at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

It’s great to be back.

I wanted to come back here to talk with you about the progress we are making to address the problems of congestion, gridlock and our clogged transportation systems … For too many years, successive governments haven’t been prepared to make the investments to get this province moving.

Last year, at this podium, I made a commitment that I did not want a future Premier to have to stand here 50 years from now wishing someone had shown the courage and leadership to take action. So today, I am going to talk about the next step in making that commitment real.

Ontario’s economy is on the right track but it still needs to pick up some speed.

We have a choice as a society right now.. We can do everything in our power to fire up our economy and create jobs for today and jobs for tomorrow … Or, we can delay the hard decisions and avoid responsibility.

I believe in tackling challenges head on. And Ontario does have some challenges we cannot ignore.

Over the past year, I have travelled to every part of our beautiful province, from Barrie to Brockville, from Kenora to Kitchener, and from Timmins to Toronto. And one thing I’ve heard everywhere is that people want their highways widened, and their bridges fixed.

We all need to reach our destinations faster, whether we are on the roads in Sudbury, the highways in Halton or public transit in Etobicoke. Gridlock means less time at home with your loved ones. Gridlock means more air pollution. Gridlock costs businesses money. These things all affect our productivity. Our economy will be in serious trouble if we don’t act.

So how did we get here? And I ask that rhetorical question understanding that the history of this country and this province is about the building of infrastructure.

Our geography has dictated that our story has been about rail lines, roads and waterways. And for that reason, one would think that it would have always been a pre-occupation of ours.

But what is the reality? The Toronto Board of Trade has shown that between the 1960s and the 1980s, we built 135 kilometres of transit track per decade. In 1971, three million people lived in the Toronto Metropolitan Area. By 2011, the population had doubled to six million. But the building stopped in the late 80’s and 90’s. Virtually no new transit lines were built. Consider that, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area we are losing at least $6 billion in productivity every year.

By 2031, with more people living in the GTHA and more cars on the road, we would have lost more than $15 billion a year if we had not made any investments. That’s why when we took office in 2003, we knew something had to be done after years of neglect. And so we spent $100-billion on infrastructure, including transportation.

We have built 23 new hospitals, 650 schools build or underway, 200 new GO rail cars and 7,900 kilometers new and repaired highways — that’s the distance from Toronto to Calgary and back! We are extending Highway 407 East — from Pickering to Hwy 35/115 — by 2020. We’re building the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway, which will improve trade and traffic flow from Ontario to Michigan. We committed to and have been four-laning Highway 69 to Sudbury. We are delivering two-way, all-day GO Train service to more and more communities …

We recently announced our plans to bring full-day, two-way GO to Waterloo starting by introducing two additional morning and two additional afternoon peak period trips by the end of 2016. And finally, after years and years of others talking about it, we’re actually building the new Union Pearson Express Link. It’s being done on time and on budget. Once the link is complete, travel time between Union and Pearson Airport will be only 25 minutes. We took action while others simply talked, wavered or stood still. And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is time to take the next step.

We need an aggressive and serious investment in transit right here in the GTHA. And, we need to build a seamless and integrated transportation network across Ontario.

Nous avons besoin d’un investissement solide et ferme dans les transports en commun ici même dans la région du Grand Toronto et de Hamilton. Et il nous faut construire un réseau intégré de transport dans l’ensemble de l’Ontario.

Let me be clear — this is the best way for every region across the province to prosper and to reach its full potential. In our Budget, we will present our action plan, with a serious investment in transportation and transit. I entered politics to find solutions to our most pressing problems and to help make life better for people. I am pleased to announce we have a plan to fund our 10-year vision, called Moving Ontario Forward.

Over the next decade, we plan to make nearly $29-billion available for transit and transportation infrastructure across the province. Je suis heureuse d’annoncer que nous avons maintenant un plan pour financer notre vision de dix ans, intitulée : « Faire progresser l’Ontario ».

Au cours de la prochaine décennie, nous planifions rendre disponibles près de vingt-neuf milliards de dollars pour l’infrastructure en matière de transport en commun  et de transport à travers de la province.

Our plan would not be funded by increases in the gas tax, HST or income taxes on low- and middle-income earners. Our investments will also be transparent so people can have confidence in what we are building in their communities and so they can see what it is we are investing in. Of the nearly $29-billion, up to $15-billion would be available for investment into the GTHA. And nearly $14 billion would be available for investment in the rest of the province. That is its proportional share. This is new money, on top of our historic multi-year infrastructure investment plan. It is fully funded.

And we lay out how we will make this money available – money that will be available starting this year – in the upcoming Budget.

This is what our province needs.

That is why it is imperative that the Budget we bring forward should be supported by at least one of the other parties. This is our moment to get this right. A moment that cannot be lost. There are a lot of people who are working with us to make our plan a reality. As we move forward we are guided by the excellent foundations upon which Metrolinx is building its transportation network in this region. And we will continue to focus on the priorities they have identified in their plan, the Big Move.

The advice from the experts and citizens — the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel, ably led by Anne Golden and Paul Bedford — also guides our plan.

 

We have three ways we will fund the plan, informed by the Golden report.

 

We will use new dedicated revenues tools …

 

Re-purpose existing revenues …

 

And, use a responsible level of debt financing, when needed.

 

The details of the new proposed revenue tools will be laid out in the Budget in just a few weeks, but will include high occupancy toll lanes which we announced in last year’s budget.

 

What I can tell you today is how we would re-purpose existing revenues.

 

We would take the existing HST collected on gasoline and road diesel taxes and dedicate it to build new transit, roads, bridges and highways around the province.

 

We would also re-direct seven and a half cents of the existing gas tax we collect towards Moving Ontario Forward.

 

And, that’s in addition to the two cents in gas tax we already distribute to municipalities for transit.

 

Proceeds from our previously announced Green Bonds program would be directed to the plan.

 

We will work with Ottawa to get funding through the Building Canada Plan. And I need to emphasize, we need a more serious federal partner.

 

And, as Charles Sousa spoke about last Friday, we will be reviewing our core assets to make sure we maximize their value for the people of Ontario …

 

This includes re-investing the money we will receive through selling our investment in GM shares into new infrastructure projects, including transportation.

 

We plan to create two new dedicated funds for public transit and transportation infrastructure: one fund for the GTHA and one for the rest of the province.

 

No one in London or Sudbury will be expected to pay for projects in Toronto.

 

Thanks to a new online system that is being created, Ontarians will be able to see what projects are being funded from the $29 billion we would make available.

 

To sum up, we are guided by these five principles —

 

1) We would dedicate sufficient funds annually to build what is required.

 

2) Allocating proceeds for dedicated funds between the GTHA and the rest of the provinces should be done in a way that is fair, accountable and transparent.

 

3) The funds would come from transparent dedicated revenue streams, some new, some current, with a responsible amount of debt financing, when needed.

 

4) The money would be put in transparent funds, one specifically for transit in the GTHA and one for the rest of province, so that the public can see what their money is buying.

 

5) Finally, the new dedicated revenue sources would not come from an increase to the gas tax, the HST or income taxes on middle income earners.

 

These principles will ensure our plan is both fair and viable.

 

We will build Ontario’s future.

 

There will be lots of questions about specific projects.

 

Our target will be Two-Way, All-Day GO Express Rail on all lines.

 

That’s what people from across the region have told me they want.

 

Over 10 years, we aim to phase in electric train service every 15 minutes on all GO lines we own – the GO Regional Express Rail.

 

It would move the most people for the least cost. And help to unclog highways across the GTHA.

 

And it would do for the region what subways did for Toronto back to the 1950s.

 

Over the coming weeks, my Ministers and Metrolinx will talk more about this exciting initiative.

 

This would not slow down our projects funded and already underway — including the Eglinton Crosstown, Union Station expansion and VIVA Bus Rapid Transit in York Region.

 

Working with municipal partners, we will work on important projects they have identified as priorities, including the proposed Relief Line, Regional Express Rail; Durham BRT and Hurontario LRT.

 

And there are opportunities in underserviced areas that we have to consider to build …

 

An acceleration of our Northern Highways program to four-lane highway connections from border to border to border …

 

And getting started on the frequent high-speed rail service all day long between Toronto, Pearson, Waterloo Region and London …

 

And the next phase of the LRT in Ottawa.

 

These are the kinds of projects we are going to complete in order to keep Ontario’s economy highly competitive, while also sticking to our deficit reduction targets.

 

Make no mistake.

 

These are investments to be sure — but these are smart investments.

 

The fact is, every dollar invested in building or renewing infrastructure gives one dollar and fourteen cents back to our GDP.

 

We know this is the right way forward.

 

So this is the proposal I’m going to bring to the people of Ontario in our Budget.

 

This is the time to have the courage and the integrity to make the right decision.

 

Ainsi, il s’agit de la proposition que je vais présenter à la population de l’Ontario dans notre budget.

 

C’est le moment d’avoir le courage et l’intégrité de prendre la bonne décision.

 

We are going to make sure that we do not miss this opportunity to do the right thing.

 

Right now, our economy is on the way back.

 

But our recovery is by no means certain.

 

If we fail to make the right choices …

 

Ontario’s recovery will go off track.

 

As you know, we are in a minority Legislature.

 

And we could have an election any time.

 

That’s why it is crucial that people understand the choices in front of us.

 

We need a partner to put our plan in place.

 

That partner could be the Tories, the NDP or if necessary, the voting public.

 

We welcome the support of either party so we can keep Ontario on the right track.

 

But the fact is we are still recovering from years of neglect and a failure to invest in transit and transportation.

 

Past governments chose not to act.

 

The reality is that for every ten cents the Mike Harris government spent on transportation and infrastructure, we have spent a dollar.

 

That government cancelled the Eglinton West lines, which cost our province $270 million.

 

And neither party has clearly outlined their vision for transportation.

 

Tim Hudak has suggested that he would fund subways in Toronto by cancelling rural and northern infrastructure projects in North Bay, Owen Sound and Northumberland County.

 

That is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

 

It would be a mistake as well to place transit and Ontario’s economic recovery in the hands of the NDP.

 

They do not have a vision for transit that they are willing to share, and they most certainly don’t have a plan to pay for it.

 

You should be asking all parties for a transit plan that is credible and costed.

 

And if the plan isn’t credible and costed, then it’s no plan at all.

 

You do not build a strong economy by putting off to tomorrow what you can do today.

 

Our government is leading the way.

 

By building …

 

And by making the right choices.

 

We can make a positive difference in the lives of Ontarians.

 

We can expand the economic potential of our province and make it into a global powerhouse.

 

This is our chance…

 

Our moment to fix transit and infrastructure…

 

For now and for the future.

 

Ontarians want us to get it right.

 

They need us to get it right.

 

But if the opposition won’t support us, then I am happy to take our plan to the people.

 

So I’m calling on everyone in this room.

 

Stand with us as we make the right choices.

 

Stand with us as we lead the way forward.

 

Stand with us as we build a better future!

 

Thank you so much! Merci. Meegwetch.

 

Eat Right Ontario

 

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