Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Toronto OKs capital budget heavy on public transit

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The Toronto City Council Tuesday adopted a C$2.5 billion (US$2.4 billion) capital budget for 2011, 55% (about US$1.49 billion) which is targeted at acquiring buses, subway cars, and light rail vehicles  for its "Transit City" light rail plan.

 

Toronto Mayor David Miller, who championed the measure, said passage “is an extraordinarily unprecedented investment in transit, libraries, community centers - all the things to make a city livable and successful."

About 32% of the capital budget is funded by federal stimulus dollars and provincial aid. A “use-it-or-lose-it” provision attached to the federal stimulus dollars requires projects be largely completed by March 31, 2011; that forced the city to rearrange its spending priorities.

Transit projects for 2010 include C$827 million for the Toronto Transit Commission, C$189 million for early stages of the Spadina subway extension, C301 -million for Transit City, a new network of light-rail lines to improve service in the suburbs, and C$129 million for renewal of Gtoronto’s Union Station, used by GO Transit and VIA Rail Canada.