Ontario Transportation Minister Del Duca to make “significant” announcement for Hamilton in next few weeks

News Apr 23, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

 Hamilton’s transit future is expected to be decided in a few weeks when Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca travels to the city to meet with Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

The mayor confirmed that even though there was no specific announcement in the April 23 Ontario budget announcement regarding Hamilton’s $1.2 billion transit request, Del Duca will be in Hamilton with some good news.

“He didn’t say what the news will be,” said Eisenberger. “I believe it will be a significant announcement. We are in the funding envelope.”

Hamilton’s Liberal cabinet Minister Ted McMeekin, who talked to Eisenberger after the budget announcement, acknowledged there was “no specific announcement” about Hamilton’s transit funding. But the transportation minister will be in Hamilton “in the next couple of weeks” to share the province’s transit plan.

“I don’t know how (Del Duca) will handle it,” said McMeekin.

The Ontario government has identified five transit projects, including Hamilton’s Rapid Transit initiative, to be part of the $16 billion allocated for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area for funding.  But, Eisenberger says, that funding wouldn’t begin until 2017-18.

“It will take a couple of years for us to be shovel ready (to use the funding for LRT),” said Eisenberger.

The mayor said Hamilton has been crystal clear over the last few years that the city wants 100 per cent capital funding for its light-rail transit system.  Earlier this year, Hamilton councillors asked the province for an additional $302 million to boost its local transit system.

Eisenberger says there should be “no ambiguity” for the transportation minister that LRT funding remains at the top of Hamilton’s transit wish list.

Eisenberger also saw some further benefits for the city in the Liberals’ budget including tapping into the proposed $130 billion infrastructure plan, what Finance Minister Charles Sousa calls the highest investment fund in the province’s history, to pay for needed capital projects.

“That is a great plus for municipalities,” said Eisenberger.

He said Hamilton is also looking at possibly more affordable housing funding as well.

McMeekin, who is the minister of municipal affairs and housing, said there was some money set aside for affordable housing, but for the most part the budget cuts by 5.5 per cent all spending by ministries except for education and health. He said health care spending will increase this year by 1.5 per cent, below the 2 per cent cost of inflation.

“The budget has no new taxes,” said McMeekin.  “It holds the line on spending and affirms what is important to us. There is no fudging about the deficit.”

He applauds a number of budget initiatives including the introduction of a cap and trade program to combat climate change that is “recognized worldwide; allowing beer to be sold in up to 450 grocery stores by December; and balancing the budget by 2018. The deficit is projected to be $8.5 billion in 2015.

Hamilton East-Stoney Creek NDP MPP Paul Miller doesn’t have any confidence in the Liberals to meet their budget expectations. He points out, for instance, the Pan Am Games will be over budget, especially for its security costs.

He says the budget does nothing for Ontario’s unemployed, and he calls selling off a portion of Ontario Hydro a “travesty.” The Liberals have frozen hospital spending, allowing the status quo to remain hurting patients’ health, he said.

“Why would you sell Ontario Hydro?” he says.

Eisenberger applauded the Liberals decision to sell off 60 per cent of Ontario Hydro, while still retaining 40 per cent ownership. He said Hamilton did a similar move with Horizon Utilities when it raised about $140 million in needed capital and created the Hamilton Future Fund that has provided indispensable for funding community projects.

McMeekin says the province is expected to start selling off four 15 per cent chunks of Ontario Hydro starting this fall to help gauge the price per share.

He said initially he was skeptical of selling off one of Ontario’s most coveted assets. But as he listened to the experts, “it started to make sense.

“There will be stronger regulations,” said McMeekin. “I will buy shares. I think it’s important for all Ontarians to buy shares.”

Ontario Transportation Minister Del Duca to make “significant” announcement for Hamilton in next few weeks

News Apr 23, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

 Hamilton’s transit future is expected to be decided in a few weeks when Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca travels to the city to meet with Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

The mayor confirmed that even though there was no specific announcement in the April 23 Ontario budget announcement regarding Hamilton’s $1.2 billion transit request, Del Duca will be in Hamilton with some good news.

“He didn’t say what the news will be,” said Eisenberger. “I believe it will be a significant announcement. We are in the funding envelope.”

Hamilton’s Liberal cabinet Minister Ted McMeekin, who talked to Eisenberger after the budget announcement, acknowledged there was “no specific announcement” about Hamilton’s transit funding. But the transportation minister will be in Hamilton “in the next couple of weeks” to share the province’s transit plan.

“I don’t know how (Del Duca) will handle it,” said McMeekin.

The Ontario government has identified five transit projects, including Hamilton’s Rapid Transit initiative, to be part of the $16 billion allocated for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area for funding.  But, Eisenberger says, that funding wouldn’t begin until 2017-18.

“It will take a couple of years for us to be shovel ready (to use the funding for LRT),” said Eisenberger.

The mayor said Hamilton has been crystal clear over the last few years that the city wants 100 per cent capital funding for its light-rail transit system.  Earlier this year, Hamilton councillors asked the province for an additional $302 million to boost its local transit system.

Eisenberger says there should be “no ambiguity” for the transportation minister that LRT funding remains at the top of Hamilton’s transit wish list.

Eisenberger also saw some further benefits for the city in the Liberals’ budget including tapping into the proposed $130 billion infrastructure plan, what Finance Minister Charles Sousa calls the highest investment fund in the province’s history, to pay for needed capital projects.

“That is a great plus for municipalities,” said Eisenberger.

He said Hamilton is also looking at possibly more affordable housing funding as well.

McMeekin, who is the minister of municipal affairs and housing, said there was some money set aside for affordable housing, but for the most part the budget cuts by 5.5 per cent all spending by ministries except for education and health. He said health care spending will increase this year by 1.5 per cent, below the 2 per cent cost of inflation.

“The budget has no new taxes,” said McMeekin.  “It holds the line on spending and affirms what is important to us. There is no fudging about the deficit.”

He applauds a number of budget initiatives including the introduction of a cap and trade program to combat climate change that is “recognized worldwide; allowing beer to be sold in up to 450 grocery stores by December; and balancing the budget by 2018. The deficit is projected to be $8.5 billion in 2015.

Hamilton East-Stoney Creek NDP MPP Paul Miller doesn’t have any confidence in the Liberals to meet their budget expectations. He points out, for instance, the Pan Am Games will be over budget, especially for its security costs.

He says the budget does nothing for Ontario’s unemployed, and he calls selling off a portion of Ontario Hydro a “travesty.” The Liberals have frozen hospital spending, allowing the status quo to remain hurting patients’ health, he said.

“Why would you sell Ontario Hydro?” he says.

Eisenberger applauded the Liberals decision to sell off 60 per cent of Ontario Hydro, while still retaining 40 per cent ownership. He said Hamilton did a similar move with Horizon Utilities when it raised about $140 million in needed capital and created the Hamilton Future Fund that has provided indispensable for funding community projects.

McMeekin says the province is expected to start selling off four 15 per cent chunks of Ontario Hydro starting this fall to help gauge the price per share.

He said initially he was skeptical of selling off one of Ontario’s most coveted assets. But as he listened to the experts, “it started to make sense.

“There will be stronger regulations,” said McMeekin. “I will buy shares. I think it’s important for all Ontarians to buy shares.”

Ontario Transportation Minister Del Duca to make “significant” announcement for Hamilton in next few weeks

News Apr 23, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

 Hamilton’s transit future is expected to be decided in a few weeks when Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca travels to the city to meet with Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

The mayor confirmed that even though there was no specific announcement in the April 23 Ontario budget announcement regarding Hamilton’s $1.2 billion transit request, Del Duca will be in Hamilton with some good news.

“He didn’t say what the news will be,” said Eisenberger. “I believe it will be a significant announcement. We are in the funding envelope.”

Hamilton’s Liberal cabinet Minister Ted McMeekin, who talked to Eisenberger after the budget announcement, acknowledged there was “no specific announcement” about Hamilton’s transit funding. But the transportation minister will be in Hamilton “in the next couple of weeks” to share the province’s transit plan.

“I don’t know how (Del Duca) will handle it,” said McMeekin.

The Ontario government has identified five transit projects, including Hamilton’s Rapid Transit initiative, to be part of the $16 billion allocated for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area for funding.  But, Eisenberger says, that funding wouldn’t begin until 2017-18.

“It will take a couple of years for us to be shovel ready (to use the funding for LRT),” said Eisenberger.

The mayor said Hamilton has been crystal clear over the last few years that the city wants 100 per cent capital funding for its light-rail transit system.  Earlier this year, Hamilton councillors asked the province for an additional $302 million to boost its local transit system.

Eisenberger says there should be “no ambiguity” for the transportation minister that LRT funding remains at the top of Hamilton’s transit wish list.

Eisenberger also saw some further benefits for the city in the Liberals’ budget including tapping into the proposed $130 billion infrastructure plan, what Finance Minister Charles Sousa calls the highest investment fund in the province’s history, to pay for needed capital projects.

“That is a great plus for municipalities,” said Eisenberger.

He said Hamilton is also looking at possibly more affordable housing funding as well.

McMeekin, who is the minister of municipal affairs and housing, said there was some money set aside for affordable housing, but for the most part the budget cuts by 5.5 per cent all spending by ministries except for education and health. He said health care spending will increase this year by 1.5 per cent, below the 2 per cent cost of inflation.

“The budget has no new taxes,” said McMeekin.  “It holds the line on spending and affirms what is important to us. There is no fudging about the deficit.”

He applauds a number of budget initiatives including the introduction of a cap and trade program to combat climate change that is “recognized worldwide; allowing beer to be sold in up to 450 grocery stores by December; and balancing the budget by 2018. The deficit is projected to be $8.5 billion in 2015.

Hamilton East-Stoney Creek NDP MPP Paul Miller doesn’t have any confidence in the Liberals to meet their budget expectations. He points out, for instance, the Pan Am Games will be over budget, especially for its security costs.

He says the budget does nothing for Ontario’s unemployed, and he calls selling off a portion of Ontario Hydro a “travesty.” The Liberals have frozen hospital spending, allowing the status quo to remain hurting patients’ health, he said.

“Why would you sell Ontario Hydro?” he says.

Eisenberger applauded the Liberals decision to sell off 60 per cent of Ontario Hydro, while still retaining 40 per cent ownership. He said Hamilton did a similar move with Horizon Utilities when it raised about $140 million in needed capital and created the Hamilton Future Fund that has provided indispensable for funding community projects.

McMeekin says the province is expected to start selling off four 15 per cent chunks of Ontario Hydro starting this fall to help gauge the price per share.

He said initially he was skeptical of selling off one of Ontario’s most coveted assets. But as he listened to the experts, “it started to make sense.

“There will be stronger regulations,” said McMeekin. “I will buy shares. I think it’s important for all Ontarians to buy shares.”