Toronto-Waterloo Corridor A Continued Focus of Ontario Budget
Kitchener – The 2018 Ontario budget is helping ensure that the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor continues to be at the forefront of moving Ontario forward. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to growing Ontario’s economy and the importance of the transportation linkages which are essential to the success of the Toronto-Waterloo corridor”, said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “With today’s $11 billion+ budget allocation, Kitchener and Waterloo region as a whole are seeing the province’s continued commitment to Two-Way All-Day GO service between Kitchener and Toronto, as well as proceeding with the construction of phase one of High Speed Rail.”
Together with Toronto Mayor John Tory and his fellow mayors in Waterloo region, Mayor Vrbanovic has been a champion of improved transit links between Waterloo region and Toronto. Greater links will not only move people and ease Highway 401 congestion, but will also serve as an economic driver for our region and our province. “Two-Way All-Day GO service and High Speed Rail to our region are true game-changers since there is tremendous traffic back and forth between Toronto to our area. Businesses, commuters, and investors see expanded rail service as unlocking tremendous opportunity and productivity for our region, southwestern Ontario, and the province as a whole,” said Mayor Vrbanovic.
Progress is also continuing in other transportation initiatives like Phase 3 of Highway 7 expansion between Kitchener and Guelph, an important local economic driver that will allow better flow of traffic and goods.
Housing affordability, the opioid crisis, mental health, dental care, and child care continues to be a provincial priority in today’s budget, with the province committing to providing 33% cost share for affordable housing. These initiatives are intertwined, and the provincial budget will help municipalities in their work in these important areas. “While the initial investments to support the cannabis legislation and the opioid crisis are a start, I believe additional dialogue and supports will be needed to fully deal with the challenges we face in these areas,” added Mayor Vrbanovic.
The Provincial budget also continues to invest in new and emerging transformative technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), 5G wireless communications, autonomous vehicles, advanced computing and quantum technologies. All these investments play to our area’s strengths, and to strengthening the work of our Waterloo EDC and the overall, Toronto-Waterloo Region Corridor. There is support for business in general through new initiatives like the Good Jobs and Growth Plan, Ontario Apprenticeship Strategy, Venture Technologies Fund, an Enhanced Ontario Research & Development Tax Credit, and more.
“These investments in businesses, whether traditional or emerging technologies, drive productivity and economic growth, ultimately creating high-paying jobs in our local economy and improving the quality of life of our residents” said Vrbanovic.