Ontario unveils how it will spend $11.8B in federal infrastructure cash

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OTTAWA _ The federal government is set to spend just over $11.8 billion on new transit and environmentally friendly projects in Ontario over the next decade, with Canada’s biggest city receiving the majority of funding.

The provincial government will kick in a further $10 billion over the same time period.

The federal and provincial Liberals are unveiling the details today about how the country’s most populous province will spend the money between now and 2028, and how much the provincial government will have to kick in.

Further details will be unveiled in the coming days when the agreement itself becomes public.

The majority of the spending announced on Wednesday in Mississauga will go to projects that the province will have to identify for funding. About $2.1 billion of the money is previously pledged federal funding to build light rail in Ottawa, flooding protection in Toronto’s Port Lands and help for the Scarborough subway extension.

Overall, Toronto is receiving almost $4.9 billion in transit funding under the federal-provincial deal.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi has been on a push to sign funding deals with provinces and territories before the end of the month. Signing the agreements is necessary before any of the $33 billion that Sohi oversees can flow to provinces and ultimately to municipal projects.

Last week, Sohi signed a funding agreement with Northwest Territories that opened the door for the territory to transfer public transit money to projects that help communities mitigate the effects of climate change.

Provinces and territories had asked Sohi for flexibility in how they use federal funding at the outset of negotiations this fall.

The territorial deal also laid out expected community employment benefits from any project, and set timelines for project spending over the next decade. Similar wording exists in Ontario’s deal that will require the province to show how large projects are creating jobs for a “broader array” of Canadians in the construction sector.

The Liberals want projects funded under the second phase of their infrastructure program to contribute to economic growth and show environmental benefits, particularly by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“I am pleased that we have signed an agreement with Ontario to provide long-term stable funding for priority infrastructure projects. This funding will make a real difference in Ontario communities. Long-term investments in infrastructure are key to building a strong Canada–connecting people, creating good jobs for the middle class, and building our economy and our communities for the future. Collaboration and partnership have been at the heart of the success of our Investing in Canada plan and we will continue to work with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities, stakeholders, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”- The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“At its core, infrastructure is about people, and our government is committed to ensuring that our unprecedented infrastructure investments work for everyone in Ontario. We have a responsibility to build the critical public infrastructure our province needs to maintain a strong economy and high standard of living. That is the reason we are investing more than $190 billion in hospitals, schools, roads and bridges. Every dollar invested in infrastructure is an investment in quality of life and in our economy.”- The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure

“Communities across Ontario need up-to-date infrastructure to thrive and protect people’s health and safety. This long-term funding is important as it helps us make needed investments in municipal infrastructure. Together we will monitor our progress on what this funding achieves and what else might be needed to help municipal governments to invest in critical local infrastructure.”- Lynn Dollin, President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario

“ Long-term investments in infrastructure are key to building a strong Canada. Efficient and sustainable public transit across Brampton plays an important role in keeping our communities among the best places in the world to live, while contributing to clean economic growth. As Brampton continues to grow, it is important all levels of government partner together to ensure the city’s infrastructure needs are met.”- Ruby Sahota, Member of Parliament for Brampton North