TORONTO, Ont. – Mayor Rob Ford is happy with the federal budget, saying he sent his budget wishlist to Ottawa and many of his ideas were taken to heart.
Ford said that he’s pleased Ottawa renewed its commitment to affordable housing, as Toronto Community Housing has a $750-million repair backlog.
“We don’t know exactly how good that news is,” he told reporters, Friday. “We’re still crunching all the numbers, but I’m very happy to say they’re listening and they understand the situation that we’re in.”
Meanwhile, Ford said he will be working with councillors and city staff over the next few weeks, who will identify which infrastructure projects should get priority.
He explained that transit is important, but so are roads.
“We have a long list of infrastructure needs, and identifying priorities is always challenging. Transit is obviously a priority, but that is not the only priority,” he said.
“Our roads system is old, and requires hundreds of millions of dollars to keep it working and safe. The Gardiner Expressway requires $500-million over the next 10 years just to keep it safe.”
He also believes that the completion of the Sheppard subway line out to Scarborough should be a higher priority than a downtown relief line, despite the opinion of the head of the Toronto Transit Commission.
“There is an emerging council consensus on building a subway to Scarborough Town Centre. We should finish what we started by closing the loop to Don Mills and extending it to Downsview.”
Even though council has already approved four new LRT lines – including one on Finch – Ford wants the Finch line moved underground instead, saying light rail will only add to traffic chaos.
Meanwhile, he wants council to begin planning the acquisition of lands to begin a new subway line to relieve pressure on the current lines and streetcars.
The federal government is giving municipalities $47-billion in infrastructure cash for specific projects.
Other items on the budget which Ford approved of included the renewal of the Building Canada Fund.