Toronto eyes deadline extension for $121M in unused federal transit money

via Global News

Toronto has invested millions of dollars to repair, improve and expand the city’s public transit system over the past year but the timeline for federal funding used to help cover some of the costs is nearing a close and $121 million could be left on the table if the deadline isn’t met.

“When the fund was announced last summer, we knew we were embarking on an ambitious schedule of repair, renewal, enhancement and expansion of the TTC,” Mayor John Tory told reporters at city hall on Tuesday.

“But the federal government did require cities, including Toronto, to spend this money within two years and there’s a limit as to what percentage of the money can be spent in the second year.”

Toronto was allocated $856 million in federal funding in August 2016 as part of the Trudeau government’s $3.4 billion Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

The guidelines had stipulated that all projects were required to be complete by either March 31, 2018, or March 31, 2019, with a maximum of 40 per cent of the program money spent in the final year.

The funding plan required municipalities to match the federal contribution by 50 per cent. However, if the projects are not complete by the deadline, cities would be responsible for 100 per cent of the project costs.

A public transit infrastructure report to be delivered to the city’s executive committee said the deadline cannot be met and is requesting the federal government extend the deadline to March 31, 2020.