ttc federal funding

Toronto might squander a huge chunk of federal transit funding

Have you ever seen the film Brewster’s Millions? If you haven’t, it’s a comedy where Richard Pryor attempts to spend a $30 million inheritance from his uncle. If he spends it in 30 days, he receives the full $300 million. If he doesn’t, he gets nothing.

Well, if you can believe it, Toronto has found itself in a similar situation.

When the federal government promised $856 million to Toronto in transit funding last year, there were a few rules and guidelines.

Per the stipulations, the money must be spent on projects that are scheduled for completion by March 2019. According to the Star, the city is beginning to worry that it will not be able to spend about $121.5 million by that time, which totals around 14 percent of the grant.

Unfortunately, the rules also stipulate that only 40 percent of the money can be spent in the final year. At the moment, advisors say about 37 percent is on the docket. This prevents the city from blowing through the $121.5 million in the last-minute.

To combat the issue, the city has asked the federal government to extend the deadline to ensure its desired projects can be funded by the federal grant. It has also asked that the final-year funding cap be raised to 70 percent.

Otherwise, these projects will lose federal funding.

As in Brewster’s Millions, the city was warned when the funding was promised that it may be “difficult” to spend it all in such a short time.

The city may speed up the purchase of a new fleet of buses to lower the at-risk amount to about $84.8 million, but is currently not sure how to spend the remainder in time.

We won’t spoil the ending of Brewster’s Millions for you, but hopefully Toronto finds a way to spend its inheritance and make all transit-riders’ lives a little bit easier.

Lead photo by

Matt Wiebe


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