Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, March 26, 2010

Windsor In Dwight's Budget

We Canadians talk a good game about spending money on the border because it is so important to our economy but it is the Americans who have actually done it.

Perhaps there is something there in the Ontario budget on the DRIC road but I could not find it.

I saw this:
  • "The Province is also making ongoing long-term infrastructure investments that will continue to lay the foundation for future economic growth. Expanding transit and highways will improve the movement of people and goods, helping to lower travel times and transportation."

Maybe it is hiding under "other transportation" but the sums set out are so small relatively speaking that it appears that DRIC expenditures may have been cut back.

Note Dwight did say in the Star pre-budget:

  • "Work on the $1.6-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway, the planned new border feeder highway, will also push forward, Duncan said."

But the Budget did not say what work how much would be spent or how quickly.

Interestingly, the Star also reported that:

  • "Meanwhile, the government will save money by delaying a raft of capital projects, many of them in Toronto. Several GTA transit projects will be postponed, as will plans to build a Toronto courthouse as well as a $1.4 billion office complex at Queen's Park."
The Toronto Star pointed out:
  • "Belt-tightening will also derail expansion of public transit projects to save $4 billion over five years, including the TTC’s planned LRT lines for Eglinton and Finch Avenues and expansion of Scarborough rapid transit."

I guess that this came from Dwight saying:

  • "Once our stimulus-related infrastructure projects near completion, we will slow the pace of planning and construction of some of the government’s capital projects."
Like DRIC perhaps? He is not going to spend billions in Windsor if Toronto light rapid transit lines are being cut back!

Here is what I did find on the border:
  • "In addition, as Ontario’s economy shows signs of recovery, and trade and traffic volumes increase, it is critical that Ontario’s borders with the United States, Canada’s most important trading partner, operate as effectively as possible. Federal investment in technology and human resources at borders is critical to ensuring traffic flows as efficiently as possible. The federal government’s recent budget commitment to invest $87 million over two years to improve border efficiency and to expand and promote trusted traveller programs is a positive and welcome step in this regard."

Gee that sounds to me like Dwight does not want a bridge since if there is no bridge, there is no need for a DRIC road. Not a word about a Federal investment in a bridge.

  • "Ontario is advancing its interests in Washington, D.C. by establishing an office located in the Canadian Embassy. This office will promote the linkages and interests of the Ontario/U.S. relationship affected by U.S. policies through ongoing monitoring and focused advocacy. These include such important issues as border, trade, climate change, water, air and related matters."

Hmmm, the "border." Isn't the bridge a Federal matter Dwight?

  • "Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation net income is lower over the forecast period, largely due to the projected impact of a strong Canadian dollar and an unfavourable economic outlook for U.S. border states. These decreases are partially offset by a higher net income outlook for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario."

Poor Sean O'Dell. There go tourist numbers and therefore car numbers down, again. No wonder LCBO income is higher as tourist operators are being driven to drink!