Tuesday, June 4, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sousa wants transit funding meeting with Flaherty

Ontario’s Finance Minister is calling for a meeting with his federal counterpart to urgently discuss public transit funding in the province.

Metrolinx, Ontario’s transportation agency, recently proposed a number of measures to raise the $2 billion a year needed to fund transit, including a one percentage point hike in the HST for residents in the GTHA.

Flaherty has flatly rejected the idea of a regional tax hike, saying it would not be accepted by the federal government, which administers the HST.

But Sousa points out that Ontario has not asked the federal government for any changes to the HST as it continues to examine the Metrolinx proposals.

“We’ve made it clear that these are just recommendations. We’ve made it clear that we’re going to have engagement and discussions and we’re going to assess what this means,” Sousa told The Canadian Press in an interview.

“Let’s sit down and talk about the funding and what it is the federal government is going to do to support Ontario.”
Charles Sousa has written to Jim Flaherty asking Ottawa to participate in a discussion on how to best fund and support much-needed transit expansion in the province, particularly in the congested Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Sousa’s letter on Sunday came in response to correspondence from Flaherty on Thursday in which the federal finance minister warned against making changes to the Harmonized Sales Tax. (Source: CBC News) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/sousa-wants-transit-funding-meeting-with-flaherty-1.1340617