Joe Oliver’s poorly supported transit fund shows the Tories don’t take transit seriously
Except for the fact it’s not funny, Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s Public Transit Fund is a joke. Either that or an insult.
Even as he acknowledged that the federal government has a responsibility to help solve urban Canada’s growing mobility woes, he refused to accept it.
His pledge — $250 million starting in 2017, $500 million in 2018 and $1 billion annually after 2019 — can’t be taken seriously. That $1 billion, which will become available in four years, must be shared by all cities in Canada.
At a time when a single kilometere of subway costs upwards of $300 million, that won’t get us far.
It is a sign of the times that even this paltry gesture caused Toronto Mayor John (Pollyanna) Tory to sing Oliver’s praises.
“I believe this is a major step forward for Canada and for Toronto,” His Worship effused. “Finally, and for the first time in history, Canada has a permanent national fund for transit that will soon add up to $1 billion annually for transit projects.”
Imagine that. In 2015, Ottawa wakes up to one of the country’s most intractable issues, but even then isn’t prepared to make a meaningful commitment.
Perhaps Tory’s right. Perhaps Oliver’s is a government so completely ignorant of city life in 21st-century Canada that we should be thankful even for such a small glimmer of awareness. There must be awareness before there can be action, but as always, that will take time.
READ MORE: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/04/23/federal-public-transit-plan-more-stop-than-go-hume.html