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Federal government will support SmartTrack

Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Toronto yesterday, Thursday, June 18 to announce that the Government of Canada would contribute as much as one-third of the costs for Toronto’s SmartTrack above-ground rapid transit plan.

According to a news release, the government would fund about $2.6 billion for the project, “once a formal application has been received and approved”.

The release then nervously qualifies the government’s support by continuing, “Decisions on support for a given project, including a determination of project eligibility under the fund, will be contingent on the assessment of an application and detailed project business case.”

Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Mayor John Tory joined the prime minister when he announced the funding. SmartTrack was the chief transportation plank of the mayor’s election-campaign platform.

Prime Minister Harper also announced further details about the new Public Transit Fund, which his government announced with the 2015 federal budget or “Economic Action Plan 2015”.

Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca and Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid, applauded the announcement, saying, “We are pleased the federal government has joined us at the table with their share of support to the City’s SmartTrack proposal, which will be delivered by Metrolinx, through the Province’s GO Regional Express Rail (RER) Plan.”

“As announced in the 2015 provincial budget, Ontario is leading the way by investing billions of dollars in our GO Transit system through the transformative RER initiative. Recognizing that the City’s SmartTrack concept is largely dependent on the province’s corridors and infrastructure, Ontario was the first to partner with the City in this project to help manage congestion in Toronto.”