The City of Toronto has uploaded the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) and the Gardiner Expressway to the provincial government, freeing up billions of dollars for the city.
Ford says that the upload will give Toronto $1.2 billion over the next three years, with the maintenance of the DVP and the Gardiner being taken on by the provincial government, there’s an additional $7.6 billion in capital relief.
Last year, the Gardiner Expressway Strategic Rehabilitation Plan was put forward by the city to repair the Gardiner. With it, the plan was to go till 2030 with $2.3 billion having been budgeted funding needed and $1.48 billion in municipal funding having been set aside already.
“These two highways move over 300,000 vehicles every single day. In fact, the DVP is the only expressway connecting the north and south ends of the city. These two highways are vital to the success of the province’s economy,” says Ford. ”Let me be clear, this government will never ever pull these highways. Now more than ever, drivers here in Toronto, and across the GTA need relief, not more cost.”
In August, the city made an announcement that they are facing a $1.5 billion budget hole going into 2024. Over the next 10 years, this would lead to a $46.5 billion shortfall.
The uploading was announced at a press conference on Nov. 27 by Premier Doug Ford alongside Mayor Olivia Chow. For the province, taking on the two highways for the city will not stand in the way of the province’s plans for Ontario Place.
“Ontario Place, I’ve said so before and I’ll say again, has been my position that I believe that Ontario place should be a public park. But it is called ‘Ontario Place.’ The land that belongs to the provincial government. And we do not have the authority to stop the development. And the future of Ontario Place is that debate is going to happen here in Queen’s Park, not at the municipal level,” says Chow.
With this burst of funding, Chow says that the money that was being funneled into the highways can instead go into other parts of the city. She says that the deal over the next 10 years “unlocks billions” for use in the development of the city.
“The city will be able to spend billions more on affordable housing, fixing transit and building communities with all the things we love in the neighbourhoods, whether it’s community centres, libraries, parks, and all those things where people gather and where they feel they belong,” says Chow. “We can repair our ageing transit system and improve the services so people can get to work and school on time. We can fix our roads instead of spending a huge portion of our budget on fixing the gardener.”
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