Following her election win, Kathleen Wynne can finally move forward with her long-promised plans to update and expand Toronto’s transit system.
The new premier of Ontario pledged to include $15 bn. of transit infrastructure for the city of Toronto and surrounding communities.
Following her victory speech on Thursday evening, Ms. Wynne noted that “The people of Ontario … want us to get on with building the transit and transportation infrastructure that we know we need.
I’m not so sure that the average Ontarian really gets too excited about new infrastructure in Toronto. What are more pressing are the potholed roads that they have to endure every day. The average Ontarian listening to her speech can be guaranteed that they will pay taxes that are not going to be used to better their lives. Instead, it will be money spent to make sure that Torontonians are better equipped to deal with their traffic snarls.
Now, it is true that the citizens of Toronto are a large percentage of Ontarians. And it’s also true that they pay a good chunk in taxes, some of which will pay for this transport infrastructure.
What isn’t clear is why it has to be a provincial affair, and not one for the City of Toronto. Why make the rest of the province get involved with an issue that can be ably handled the city’s Council?
But it gets better yet.
Wynne went ahead and pledged something she knew Ontario couldn’t afford.
Nearly half of the plan is unfunded, meaning it will have to be covered by debt or help from Ottawa.
On the one hand, Ontario is already up to its eyeballs in debt. The province has more of the “d-word” than even the beleaguered State of California, with only a third the population!
Going to Ottawa to beg for money makes as much sense as asking someone from Thunder Bay to do so. If it seems strange that someone from the far-off reaches of Ontario will be paying for a Toronto project, what makes Ms. Wynne think that it makes sense for someone from some far-off place in Canada?
Toronto problems require Toronto solutions. Promising an infrastructure project for the city might make election sense, but it does little for the rest of the province.
Ms. Wynne – you are now premier of the Province of Ontario. Don’t forget that it stretches far beyond the Don Valley.