Make national urban transit funding permanent: Toronto Board of Trade



    Recent transit investments a major step toward a Federal 'Urban Agenda'

    TORONTO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - Responding to recent events on the federal
political stage and to the prospect of a fall election, Toronto Board of Trade
President and CEO Carol Wilding today called upon all federal parties to
support a permanent 'national transit strategy' to fortify Canada's long term
economic recovery. Ms. Wilding is looking to transit infrastructure policies
to be at the foundation of a renewed federal urban agenda.
    "More than 80 per cent of Canadians now live in urban centres," says Ms.
Wilding. "Canada's cities power its economy. The federal parties need to
acknowledge this reality in their policies. The Board of Trade intends to make
the state of Canada's cities a top issue in any upcoming federal campaign and
will be calling on all parties to outline their plans and commitments to help
make Canada's cities stronger."
    Ms. Wilding believes the growing role federal governments are playing in
the improvement and expansion of transit networks demonstrates a growing
commitment to make Canada's cities better places to live and do business.
Specifically, Ms. Wilding notes that the current government has committed more
than $2 billion in funding to support public transit investments in the
Greater Toronto Area since 2005, including:

    
    -   Sheppard East LRT ($316 million),
    -   revitalization of Union Station ($133 million),
    -   York Spadina subway extension (up to $697 million),
    -   investments in GO Transit ($616 million),
    -   Brampton Acceleride ($95 million),
    -   Mississauga Rapid Transit ($83 million), and
    -   York VIVA ($85 million).
    

    "The reality is that successive governments have committed more money
over the past six years for new transit infrastructure in Toronto than during
any other time in a generation," says Ms. Wilding. "Now is the time for all
the federal parties to tell urban voters what their parties will give back to
our cities."
    The Board of Trade is calling for additional funding for public transit
across Canada totaling $1.8 billion annually. This amount would build upon
funds already dedicated through the federal Gas Tax Fund, introduced by the
Martin government and made permanent by the Harper government.
    In addition to calling for a national transit strategy, as part of an
urban agenda, the Board is also asking party leaders to come forward with
proposals that would include funds for affordable housing, programs to
integrate skilled immigrants into the workforce, and measures to spur the
greening of Canada's economy.
    Ms. Wilding calls upon all the federal parties to pledge their support
for an urban agenda. "The future of Canada depends upon the wellness of its
cities," says Ms. Wilding. "It's time for Ottawa to step up to its
responsibility for keeping Canada's cities healthy and vibrant."

    About the Toronto Board of Trade (www.bot.com)

    Founded in 1845, the Toronto Board of Trade is Canada's largest local
chamber of commerce, connecting more than 200,000 business professionals and
influencers throughout the Toronto region. The Board of Trade advances the
success of its members and the entire Toronto region by facilitating
opportunities for knowledge sharing, networking, business development and city
building.





For further information:

For further information: Philip Preville, Director of Public Affairs,
Toronto Board of Trade, (416) 862-4514 ext. 4514, ppreville@bot.com

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TORONTO BOARD OF TRADE

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