With the 2015 budget, the Government of Ontario continues to show firm dedication to improving how we move people and goods across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
“Transportation is our lifeline and we got a series of much needed infusions this week. This is great progress toward securing the investment we need. The 2015 budget commitments show leadership from the Province to make a regional, integrated transportation network a reality,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction.
Through CivicAction’s Your32 campaign, we heard voices from across the region call for new funding for transportation from sources that are dedicated, efficient, transparent and accountable, regional, and fair. We look forward to hearing how the Province will track the investments and assess the difference they make.
The 2015 Ontario budget builds on the previous year’s historic budget, and brings the total value now committed for transportation projects in the GTHA to $16 billion. Combined with recent announcements on investment in service enhancements for the GO Transit network and in Next Wave projects of The Big Move – the Hurontario-Main LRT in Mississauga and Brampton and rapid transit in Hamilton – we are more optimistic that our region’s residents will see real improvements in the years to come.
The budget shows investment in infrastructure is a top priority for the Province; its unprecedented $130 billion 10-year plan for public infrastructure will support Ontario’s growth. We encourage the Province to keep going full steam ahead.
Full implementation of a regional transportation plan for the GTHA is estimated to cost around $80 million, including construction, operating, and maintenance expenses, and roughly $50 billion of that remains unfunded. The 2014 and 2015 budgets have taken us out of the station, and we are eager to keep moving down the tracks. We look forward to hearing more about other options for funding under consideration, including proceeds from the new cap-and-trade system and the feasibility of building new and converting high-occupancy vehicle lanes in the GTHA into high-occupancy toll lanes.
Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy
Through its Escalator initiative, CivicAction is engaging the private sector to create mentoring and job opportunities for youth who face barriers to employment. With the renewal of the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy of $250 million over two years, we are heartened that the Province continues to focus attention on the pressing issue of youth unemployment. We look forward to seeing more details of the renewed Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, including the new Youth Job Connection which is to focus on youth who face multiple barriers to employment. As the strategy is rolled out, we call on the Province to partner with employers up-front so that programs are designed to ensure that youth are equipped with in-demand skills.
Alignment with CivicAction Summit themes
At CivicAction’s upcoming Summit on April 28, Better City Bootcamp, CivicAction will work with over 600 civic leaders to identify high-impact multi-sectoral actions for burning issues on the horizon for our region: Infrastructure needs of tomorrow; Public space; The growing need to match seniors’ healthcare to housing options; Mental health support in the workplace; and Childhood Health – the Importance of the ‘First 1000 days’.
The 2015 Ontario Budget is well-aligned with several areas of our Summit themes and our focus on personal and community health and resilience. We look forward to having the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, join us at the Summit to share the Province’s priorities and vision for the region as they relate to these issues.
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