With the province investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Ottawa’s infrastructure, work desperately needs to be done to fix transit and roads across the board, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Wednesday.
Gridlock is “crippling” economic and cultural growth in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, costing taxpayers $6 billion annually.
With the population there projected to double, “by 2031, it’s going to be about $15 billion,” Wynne told a crowd at the Canada2020 event held at the Chateau Laurier.
That could mean taxes, tolls, or even new fees for GTHA residents.
“Yes, we need to pay for it, and so our government is going to find new revenue tools for infrastructure improvements in the GTHA. This conversation does not scare me,” said Wynne.
A national transit and transportation strategy is long overdue, the Premier said, but maintains residents will pay for headaches in their own municipalities.
“As we look at a dedicated revenue stream for the GTHA, we’re talking about building in the GTHA with that revenue stream, not asking people in other parts of the province to build in the GTHA,” said Wynne.
An ongoing plan for transit growth in Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Windsor, and Thunder Bay is also needed and “I’m saying the beginning of that conversation is in the GTHA because of the crisis proportions of the congestion,” Wynne said.
Rural communities are in dire need of funding for bridge repairs and/or water infrastructure, and the feds must work with the province, she added.