Thursday, April 30, 2009

Funding a tunnel: Where will the money come from?

Ontario doled out $9 billion to various public-transit projects in and around the GTA just a few weeks ago. That pledge left a lot of transit advocates in Ottawa wondering when similar funding might flow in this direction. It's a good question.

It's important to remember that the projects in Toronto and the surrounding area are just about ready to go -- or at least further along than Ottawa's plans. Provincial and federal governments anxious to create short- and medium-term jobs in infrastructure like these projects, because they can make jobs soon.

Ottawa's tunnel isn't ready to go and digging won't begin until at least 2012, a timeline that might not lure investment from Queen's Park or Parliament Hill with the same excitement as more timely proposals.

Nevertheless, municipal folks in Ottawa are confident that money will flow.

Mayor Larry O'Brien thinks a funding announcement will come by summer. Councillor Alex Cullen repeated that yesterday on CBC's All in a Day. And Citizen editor and blogger Ken Gray reported last week that councillor Maria McRae said "the parties expect to reach an agreement by the end of the month".

The big questions are: How much money will come? And where will it come from?

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