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$1 billion could have gone a long way for local infrastructure, Pettapiece says

October 11, 2013

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: When this government cancelled the Connecting Link Program, they did it suddenly, without warning, without consultation and without any concern for the impact on municipalities, especially small municipalities. Far too often, that’s the way this government operates; just ask anyone in the horse racing industry.

Connecting Link had existed since 1927. It acknowledged that the province should bear primary responsibility for the cost of maintaining provincial highways. It acknowledged that municipalities can’t pay for highways that serve traffic that is, for the most part, not local. I ask the Minister of Transportation, what does he think Toronto and Mississauga might say if he suddenly told them to start paying for the 401?

Over a year ago, I wrote to the Premier to convey the extreme disappointment of the municipalities I represent over the government’s unilateral decision to cancel the program. In response, multiple ministers of transportation have bragged about the government’s MIII program as if it were somehow a replacement for Connecting Link. It’s not, and the minister should admit it’s not.

This week, we learned of the government’s crass political decision to cancel two power plants in the GTA, which will cost a billion dollars. They blew a billion dollars to buy five Liberal seats and they scrapped Connecting Link, a program that cost a tiny fraction of that and a program that was working. It’s shameful, it’s inexcusable and it’s totally unacceptable to the people I represent.