TORONTO—The federal Liberals are earmarking $1.8 billion in idle, Conservative infrastructure cash to a regional express rail project around Canada’s largest city and millions more for smaller transit projects around Ontario.
Combined with provincial money, the federal and provincial governments are pitching in $4.4 billion to GO Transit’s regional express project that will add track and parking capacity and renovate stations in and around Toronto.
The price tag for the project makes it the largest project the federal government has ever invested in, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at an event in Etobicoke.
Trudeau predicted that once completed, the public spending will make for a faster commute around the Toronto region and “more money in peoples’ pockets as they trade their cars for public transit.”
The federal dollars will come from the New Building Canada Fund, a marquee infrastructure program set up by the previous Conservative government that the Liberals are now pushing provinces to start using for projects—or else watch the billions remaining in the fund flow directly to cities.
An additional $200 million announced today comes from the first phase of the Liberals’ infrastructure program that started last year, which will fund 312 transit projects in 28 Ontario cities.
The Liberals plan to spend $82.8 billion from their infrastructure program over the next decade, not including the approximately $100 billion to be spent over the same time from previous infrastructure programs.
The Liberals are banking that the investment will boost economic growth rates.