Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park

Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park


Budget 2017: Transit and Infrastructure By the Numbers

Transit and infrastructure investment is critical for communities like Parkdale-High Park. In urban centres like Toronto, public transit is economic, efficient, and environmentally friendly. It’s no secret that congestion and gridlock plague Toronto streets. From being a TTC rider and cyclist, I know that the layout of the city is unfriendly for cyclists and outdated. When our city was founded and the streets were laid down, our city was far from the populous and bustling Toronto we know today.

When we don’t invest in transit, people spend more time away from their families, and Canada’s economy loses billions of dollars in lost productivity every year. Our government understands transit and infrastructure is a top priority. That’s why in Budget 2016 we allocated $60 million to active transport, which supports cyclists, walkers, and joggers around Canada. Last year, we dedicated $3.4 billion in immediate investments to upgrade and improve transit systems across Canada. Budget 2017 expands on this investment nearly seven-fold.

Public Transit:

With Budget 2017, our government is committing $20.1 billion to public transit through bilateral agreements made with the provinces and territories based on ridership and population density. Through close partnerships with the provinces and territories, we are ensuring our investment translates into better, faster, and more efficient service for each of Canada’s diverse communities – this means more busses, subways, and streetcars. Getting people out of cars not only keeps the city moving, it improves our environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

In Toronto, building upon Metrolinx’s GO Regional Express Rail (RER) program, the SmartTrack project proposed to link Scarborough to Etobicoke and enhance the GO RER program with up to six new stations and an integrated fare system.

We have emphasized the natural connection between transit and infrastructure with the new Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB): the Bank will be involved in the planning and building of public transit, and as part of its mandate it will invest at least $5 billion in public transit systems.

Critical Infrastructure:

Everyone deserves to feel safe and protected in their communities and in their homes. Our government is investing in community gathering spaces, as well as transportation and energy networks, and improved safety protocol for food and hazardous materials.

  • Over five years, $5 million over five years will go to support the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program. The program provides funding for not-for-profit organizations to make needed security infrastructure improvements, such as the installation of outdoor lighting or security cameras – I was proud to personally support applications for to this program for places of worship in Parkdale-High Park, so that community members and worshippers can feel safe regardless of their religious background
  • To safeguard critical infrastructure, including transportation networks, power grids, and hospitals, we are providing $1.37 million in 2017-18 to Public Safety Canada
  • Budget 2016 provided $38.5 million over two years, and we are building on that in Budget 2017 with an investment of up to $149.3 million over five years to renew core food safety inspection programming delivered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada

Our government is committed to improving public transit infrastructure to enhance the quality of life and ensure the safety and security of all Canadians. I am committed to advocating on behalf of the residents of Parkdale-High Park for better transit and infrastructure to move freely and safely around our great city.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my Budget 2017 series tomorrow! Next up: how Budget 2017 supports our environment and combats climate change.

“Budget 2016 was the biggest budget ever for public transit and Budget 2017 is a real continuation of that trend. We saw $20.1‎ billion being invested in the next 11 years directly in public transit across Canada and an additional $5 billion that will be invested through the new Infrastructure Bank. We think that this is a great development for Canada’s urban mobility. We think it’s a great development for sparking a sustainable change in Canadian communities and we think that the government is really taking the right approach to this investment.”

– Jeff Mackey, Public Policy Coordinator, Canadian Urban Transit Association  

“We applaud the Government of Canada for doubling its investment in the Security Infrastructure Program, a vital program that has benefited many places of worship, schools, and community centres across the country…. Today’s announcement reflects the government’s commitment to supporting the security needs of the Jewish community and other at-risk segments of Canadian society.”

Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

‎”I was also pleased to see investments in transit funding, which is definitely more of a provincial municipal area, but so many of our seniors are isolated because we simply don’t have enough transit infrastructure in this country. So happy to see a commitment to them.”

Wanda Morris, VP Advocacy, CARP

“This budget’s allocation-based transit plan puts cities in the driver’s seat like never before, it creates a real opportunity to address the housing crisis, and its rural growth plan recognizes that Canada’s future depends on communities of all sizes.”

Clark Somerville, President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Yours truly,

Arif Virani
MP for Parkdale-High Park
Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism