MPP David Orazietti, MP Terry Sheehan, and Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano shared the podium with The Right Honourable, Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau today for a major announcement by the federal government. The Sault Ste. Marie Transit Authority’s Bus Barn on Huron Street provided the backdrop for the announcement on infrastructure investment.
“Public transit is essential to growing our economy. As part of Budget 2016, ‘Growing the Middle Class’, our government is investing in public transit. Infrastructure, like transit, is critical to building stronger communities, growing the economy, and creating jobs. Our historic plan to invest more than $120 billion in infrastructure over the next ten years will put the people of Sault Ste. Marie and all Canadians in a better economic position for the future.”
“Sault Ste. Marie transit services, like transit systems all across Canada, have been hard pressed to keep up with the improvements necessary; improvements that passengers expect. Transit is a vital part of the city, as it is in many communities all across the country. The work that’s being done here in The Bus Barn helps to make better, more reliable transit services possible.” said PM Justin Trudeau.
The Federal Government is making 3.4 billion dollars in public transit investments over the next three years. Funds will roll out, “Starting right away as part of a long term strategy to improve reliability and efficiency in public transit.” said PM Trudeau.
1.5 billion dollars in Ontario, will be invested, over the next three years with “millions of that going to Sault Ste. Marie, subject to review from the Province of Ontario.” he said.
PM Trudeau said “Infrastructure funding for Public Transit will begin immediately. Municipalities will receive funds that they need to get projects started this year. To get projects moving more quickly the Federal government will fund up to 50% of the eligible cost of the projects. Provinces and municipalities will have freedom to invest these funds in the way that makes most sense for their communities.”
PM Trudeau shared that investment in public transit is long overdue.
“One bus takes up to 40 vehicles off the road.” said MPP David Orazietti. “We look forward to building on this progress ,with a Federal partner that understands the importance of these investments. Investing in public transit remains an important priority for the Ontario government. Since 2003, we have continually invested in transit improvements across the province, including here in Sault Ste. Marie, by increasing service, expanding routes, increasing accessibility, and making it easier for Ontarians to use transit. Today’s commitment by the Canadian Government to invest $3.4 billion in public transit over the next three years will allow our community to continue to strengthen our local transit system by building upon Ontario’s previous investments.”
“The idea that we are stronger together, is, from my perspective a fundamental premise of this Country. Experience tells us that we are better when we work together with a common goal for the common good. Your announcement here today, is evidence of the partnership we have with the Federal government.” shared Mayor Provenzano.
When asked about progress on a Federal government policy framework for Marijuana, PM Trudeau said, “We are continuing to work very hard (on policy) to make sure that young people have less access to marijuana. We believe that controlling and regulating marijuana is the best way to keep our communities safe, and marijuana out of the hands of young people. We will have more to say in the coming days and weeks on this issue.”
On a question raised regarding assisted- dying legislation, PM Trudeau said, “We know that this is an issue that touches Canadians and families deeply. Any legislation put forward will include protection for the most vulnerable. There is tremendous capacity for mature, reflective debate. I am very optimistic that we are going to meet the June 6th, 2016 deadline imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada.”
Via Rail was also discussed. “We are looking forward to improvements and investments in rail, in all areas of this country. Public transit and passenger rail are part of our long-term plan for investments in infrastructure.”
With creditor protection and a potential restructuring plan for Essar Steel Algoma in the works, PM Trudeau spoke about the steel industry. “This is Canada, and we will always have a foundational element of our economy built around natural resources, their development, exploitation and extraction. The challenge is to make sure that our economies are resilient enough, and our workforce is diversified enough so that we can absorb the blows of fluctuating economies. We are working with different levels of government and industry to make sure that we have a viable market for steel in Canada. We take this challenge very seriously. There is a strong future for the steel industry, not just here in the Sault, but right across this country.”
“Investing in infrastructure often involves steel.” said PM Trudeau. “We need a level playing field as we engage with the world, and secure a better future for Canada in all areas of economic growth, including the steel sector of the economy. A fair marketplace where Canadians compete and thrive in the global marketplace.”
Mayor Christian Provenzano offered an open invitation to Prime Minister Trudeau to come back to Sault Ste. Marie with his family, during the annual fall colour run via The Algoma Central Railway’s Tour Train; The same train journey that his father, (Right Honourable) Pierre Elliot Trudeau took 35 years ago with his family.
Prime Minister Trudeau left Sault Ste. Marie immediately following the press conference, destined for Thunder Bay, Ontario, where further announcements are expected.