Funding Investment in Transit and Transportation Infrastructure
The government is introducing a bold new plan to make nearly $29 billion available for investing in Ontario's transportation infrastructure and public transit across the province over the next 10 years. This plan would be funded without increasing the tax on gasoline, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), or personal income taxes on low- to middle-income earners.
Dedicated funds for investment in transportation infrastructure and public transit would be supported by:
· Dedicating proceeds of 7.5 cents of the existing provincial gasoline tax to transportation infrastructure and public transit priorities starting in 2014-15.
· Repurposing revenues from the existing HST charged on the current provincial taxes on gasoline and road diesel across the province towards transportation infrastructure, public transit and other infrastructure priorities.
The dedicated funds would also be supplemented by:
· Allocating the net revenue gains resulting from certain asset sales through the proposed Trillium Trust, which would be dedicated to investment in key infrastructure.
· Leveraging provincial borrowing as required, including proceeds from green bonds, to fund environmentally friendly infrastructure projects and public transit across Ontario.
The Ontario government will continue to work with the federal government to obtain funding through the Building Canada Plan for public transportation projects.
New Funds for Transit and Transportation Infrastructure
In addition to the new Trillium Trust Fund, two new dedicated funds would be created to invest in public transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and to invest in essential transportation infrastructure outside of the GTHA. As the proceeds for these dedicated funds would be raised province-wide, it is proposed that they be allocated to the GTHA and the rest of the province using census data from Statistics Canada. Allocating revenues between the GTHA and areas outside the GTHA by population would be fair, accountable, and transparent.
Proceeds from the dedicated fund for the GTHA would help build the next set of priority projects included in Metrolinx's regional transportation plan, The Big Move. Projects identified in The Big Move include: GO Rail Service Expansion (more two-way, all day and rush hour service) on key corridors, Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit, Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit, Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit, Hamilton Rapid Transit, Hurontario-Main LRT linking Mississauga and Brampton, a Relief Line, and Yonge North Subway Expansion to York Region. The fund could also support other transit infrastructure projects that stimulate economic development and improve mobility, such as the East Bayfront Light Rail Transit project.
Outside the GTHA, the new dedicated fund would support investment in roads, bridges, transit and other critical infrastructure across the province. This would ensure that funding is available for key local, regional and provincial infrastructure projects that enhance economic growth and address critical local needs. Initiatives outside the GTHA could include infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire, funding for bus and rail infrastructure delivered by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, strategic highway improvements and other projects to be identified through the Building Canada Plan negotiations with the federal government.