The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) welcomed the Ontario budget’s proposed investments in infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and public transit.
The 2013 budget would:
- Invest $100 million in 2013-14 for roads and bridges in northern and rural areas.
- Make the existing provincial 2 percent per liter gas tax transfer permanent.
- Create select High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area into High Occupancy Toll (HOV/HOT) lanes, where carpoolers continue to drive for free but other drivers could choose to drive in the HOV lanes for a toll.
- Expand support for transportation and transit infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.
“All governments – federal, provincial and municipal – need to work together to make infrastructure investments that promote safety and economic prosperity,” said AMO President Russ Powers. “The municipal property tax base cannot support the level of investment that’s needed and the demand exists right across Ontario. The budget is on the right track by investing in urban, rural and northern communities.”
Specifically, the budget would expand support for transportation and transit infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, invest $100 million in 2013-14 for roads and bridges in northern and rural areas and make the existing provincial gas tax transfer permanent. Currently, two cents in gas tax revenue is transferred to municipalities for every liter that’s sold.
The budget emphasizes the Ontario government’s success in controlling costs, particularly with respect to wages and benefits; and notes that it has been more successful than municipal governments, AMO said. For some time, municipalities have been calling on the province to provide the tools that they need to achieve similar results.