Today, the CBC reported that Ontario’s Minister of Finance says that the Spadina Subway extension will go ahead whether the Feds contribute any money or not. This could be read partly as wishful thinking along the lines of “Harper will be gone before we actually have to pay for it”, but there’s another darker implication.
Quotes from Dwight Duncan in the CBC article include:
“This project will go ahead with or without them,” Dwight Duncan said Tuesday.
“Our hope from the beginning has been that [Ottawa] would be there. They’ve made undertakings publicly about supporting infrastructure and we’ll see where that money lands.”
Duncan said the province will have to dig into its own reserves.
“We have fiscal room. We have contingency [funds],” he said.
If that is the case, however, Duncan said the project would likely take longer than the planned 10 years.
If Queen’s Park has no money to assume the remainder of the Spadina cost without stretching the project timelines, I have to wonder where they will get the funds to help support all of the other badly-needed capital projects in Toronto and the GTA.
Anyone who thinks we are at the dawn of a new age of provincial funding should think very carefully about what that one subway extension is doing — hogging all of the capital funds into the distant future at the expense of the rest of the transit system.
It’s time that Queen’s Park started talking about an overall, long-term approach to transit funding rather than project-at-a-time announcements. Maybe the only real duty of the GTTA is going to be to stand at bus terminals selling pencils to pay for one subway extension. I wonder if they still even use pencils at York University?