Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is putting a positive spin on her rejection of Toronto tolls to relieve traffic congestion and fund public transit.
She says she will increase the amount of gasoline tax revenue granted to municipalities, but not until fiscal 2019-20.
Then she will up the grants from 2.5 cents to three cents per litre and the next fiscal year to four cents.
The grants last year totaled $334.5 million and were shared among 99 municipalities.
The initial increase will bring it to $401 million and the second one to $642 million, she says.
I say this is pathetically inadequate!
" People in communities across Ontario can’t afford to waste time stuck in traffic — we all need better options to get to work and home to our families sooner,” Wynne said.
No kidding! It's so bad that many people who would otherwise like to go to downtown Toronto refuse the hassle of being stuck in gridlock for hours.
It also adds to everybody's food bills because trucks and truckers are also stuck in gridlock for hours.
“This substantial boost to funding for local transit in cities and towns across the province will help them make significant improvements that will have a big impact on people’s day-to-day lives," Wynne says. "Substantial" compared with what?
Transport Minister Steve Del Duca said " We’ve heard loud and clear from municipalities that they need more sustainable funding for public transit to keep up with the demand to provide more service."
So, for just how long have they been hearing this loud and clear? For their entire Liberal Party mandate, dating back to Dalton McGuinty?
“By modernizing Ontario’s gas tax program we are helping municipalities improve their local transit service so people can easily get where they need to be,"
That's "modernizing" as in "increasing".