Ontario budget brings good news for Brampton transit options and housing progress, city says


Published March 28, 2024 at 2:41 pm

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From moving ahead with the Highway 413 project to bringing light rail transit service to the downtown, Brampton says there’s good news for the city in the Ontario budget.

The province released its 2024 budget on Tuesday which showed a ballooning $9.8 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year and signaled areas of spending that will be a priority, including extensions of the Hazel McCallion LRT line with a downtown Mississauga loop and service running into downtown Brampton.

But the much-called-for transit project isn’t the only Ontario budget item that’s appealing to the city.

Brampton has applauded the province’s $1 billion Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program and $825 million Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund, which the city says will allow Brampton to repair and expand the critical infrastructure that will help the city reach its provincially set housing targets.

“With $1 billion allocated to the Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program and increased funds for critical infrastructure, we are poised to make greater strides in addressing housing challenges in Brampton,” Mayor Patrick Brown said in a statement.

And with crime and auto theft a growing concern for residents, the city also commended Ontario’s $46 million investment in public safety that will see four new patrol helicopters in the air to help police in Mississauga, Brampton and across the GTA nab the worst offenders on the highways – money the mayor said will help “our residents to feel safe.”

The province is also planning on a new Bramalea GO Station with accessibility features, parking garage and bus loop to allow riders to better access to GO Transit and Brampton Transit services.

One area of spending that may rankle some Bramptonians is the city throwing its support behind the province’s controversial Highway 413 project, which the province has doubled down on building despite protests from residents.

Ontario has struck a tentative deal with the federal government to have Ottawa drop an assessment of the project, and a joint filing says both levels of government are “committed to collaborating” to assess the effects of the highway on areas of federal jurisdiction.

The 59-kilometre highway is slated to connect the 400 and 407 but has seen opposition from politicians and residents in Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville, as well as environmental activists.

Along with a pledge to spend $67.5 billion over the next decade on transportation, other budget highlights included the province is planning to bring in auto insurance reforms and support a new York University medical school focused on training family doctors.

The province is expected to end 2023-24 with a $3-billion deficit, an improvement from the $4.5 billion expectation that Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy had just a month ago when he presented the third quarter finances.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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