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

October 11, 2013

(Queen’s Park) – Local municipalities have called on the province to re-establish the Connecting Links program, which they have relied on for decades to help maintain provincial highways.

The billion dollars lost in the gas plant scandal could have gone a long way to address local infrastructure needs, Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece said on October 10 in the Ontario legislature. The following is the text of his remarks:

“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 – and especially on 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 or 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 that it’s not.

“This week we learned the government’s crass political decision to cancel two power plants in the GTA 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.”

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Randy Pettapiece, MPP  |  416-325-3400  |  www.pettapiece.ca