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Request for Provincial Funds Available As A Result of Brampton City Council's Rejection of Hurontario-Main LRT

At the December 9 and 10 City Council meeting, Councillor Wong-Tam will move a motion to request provincial funds available as a result of Brampton City Council's rejection of Hurontario-Main LRT.  If successfully passed, the motion would request the $200 to $400 million in provincial funds available to enhance the TTC's accessibility.  

Background

The Province of Ontario pledged to fund the full $1.6 billion cost of the 23 kilometre project that would connect Port Credit in Mississauga to Brampton’s downtown GO station.  On October 27, 2015, Brampton's City Council voted against Metrolinx's Hurontario-Main Light Rail Transit (HMLRT) plan that would have been built north of Steeles Avenue.

Brampton Council’s decision to reject the Main Street surface route option sent approximately $200 million to $400 million back to provincial coffers, which will reportedly be used to pay for other transit improvements in the Ontario Moving Forward fund.

Ontario's Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca has confirmed that Brampton's refusal of the HMLRT money will be reinvested in transportation infrastructure, but did not confirm where the funds would be ultimately re-dedicated. 

"I can't say at this point it will be in the 905, the 416, in Toronto, in York Region, in Durham, in Brampton because we'll continue to do our work, our analysis," said Minister Del Duca in a Toronto Star interview published on November 3, 2015. 

The provincial transportation agency Metrolinx is expected to provide analysis of priority transit projects that are currently unfunded to the Transportation Minister for consideration when re-allocating the HMLRT funding. 

In the 2015 Ontario Budget, the provincial government outlines that "modern infrastructure is the basis of a well-functioning economy and prosperous society." The dedicated funds for Moving Ontario Forward "will be allocated to the GTHA and the rest of the province using census data from Statistics Canada." 

Considering Toronto is Ontario's most populous city and that the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) delivered transit services to an estimated 545 million riders in 2015, it would be entirely credible for Toronto City Council to advocate for the funding returned to the Ontario Moving Forward fund by Brampton's refusal of the HMLRT.

The Toronto Transit Commission has stated that they are striving to comply with the provincially mandated Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA).  Project funding in 2016 is required to enhance ease of access ($35 million), to upgrade streetcar networks ($4 million), to make bus stop improvements ($0.2 million), and to ensure TTC buses, streetcars and subways meet AODA requirements ($14.5 million).  The total capital investment in these areas over the ten-year period from 2016 to 2025 is estimated to be $500 million. 

 

Recommendation:

City Council request Toronto Mayor and Toronto Transit Commission CEO jointly write to request to the Minister of Transportation and the Premier of Ontario that consideration of any available funds as a result of Brampton's rejection of the Hurontario-Main LRT be allocated to the TTC for capital improvements including planned work to meet the provincially mandated AODA requirements.