Mayor Rob Ford says he’ll be advocating for Toronto’s fair share of federal infrastructure and housing funding at an upcoming mayors’ meeting in Ottawa.
For the first time, Ford will be attending the Big City Mayors’ Caucus on Wednesday, an event organized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) which sets the priorities of its 2,000-plus members.
The mayor said Tuesday that it’s his job to make sure Toronto receives its fair share of the $14-billion New Building Canada Plan that was recently announced by the federal government.
“We all know the development of our great subway system is expensive,” he said. “But these investments are absolutely vital to reducing gridlock and moving the economy forward.”
He added that the federal government has already contributed $660 million to help build the Scarborough subway and it needs to help Toronto build the Sheppard subway line, the downtown relief line and the Finch subway line.
“That’s why I’ll be advocating for new subway funding tomorrow,” Ford said.
Another issue the mayor said that is “very close to my heart is taking care of the most vulnerable residents” who live in Toronto Community Housing.
Last year, the city identified $156 million of new revenue for much-needed repairs in TCH’s housing stock, he said.
The city has created a 10-year plan that will invest $864 million in TCH. But its capital needs are expected exceed more than $2.6 billion over the same period.
“This is a staggering burden that we cannot bear on our own,” he said. “We’ve shown our commitment to resolving this issue. Now we need our federal-provincial partners to do the same. We need each of them at the table and ask them to match our investment over the next 10 years.”
However, Ford and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, were the only two who voted against council asking for the federal government to include funding measures in its federal budget to meet Toronto’s housing needs.
Ford told reporters that is not how he does business and that he didn’t want to frustrate his federal colleagues with paperwork.
An FCM spokesman said the mayors’ meeting is a private one but that a media availability would be held at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Neither an agenda nor a list of attendees was available but Mouktar Abdillahi said in an email the meeting would focus on housing, infrastructure and the economy.
Mayor Rob Ford speaking at a news conference on Feb. 25, 2014. 680News/Momin Qureshi