Many of us will be watching the Federal budget announcement tomorrow. This op-ed in the Globe & Mail by Toronto Mayor John Tory reiterates what he has hopefully advised the Feds long ago about where to allocate some big chunks of change. It certainly echoes my thoughts.
I do wonder if the op-ed’s timing is a preemptive strike against critics who are against Federal spending for rapid transit — or in fact any such spending at all.
In any case, transit is top of the list for Vancouver, with many hoping that the Feds will contribute more than their traditional third of the money. Vancouver will also be looking for Federal contributions to social housing.
Says Mr. Tory:
Investing in big-city transit – revitalizing its existing systems and expanding its networks – is one of the smartest bets the federal government could make in the country’s economic and social well being, with almost immediate payoffs.
On Tuesday, cities are hoping to see federal funding for transit infrastructure flow to cities according to their need, meaning that places such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal would receive an increased share.
This would be a big deal for big cities and mean faster, more reliable service for the millions of people who use urban transit every day (many of whom come in from outside the city proper). This would increase our productivity and economic outputs while spurring private investment in urban centres.
The new Liberal government campaigned on a commitment to cities, with an infrastructure plan that promised to inject roughly $125-billion of spending over the next decade.
This stimulus plan will have an impact on more than just urban transit; it will also benefit social and affordable housing, help us to attract and retain young knowledge workers, climate-proof our cities through flood protection, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by addressing their root causes, retrofitting aging buildings and getting more people out of their cars.