Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Government of Ontario has introduced the Transportation for the Future Act, 2023, that if passed, would change the way GO Transit stations are funded, with a goal of increasing housing and mixed-use communities around transit.
“Our government is delivering on our historic plan to build a stronger Ontario,” said Kinga Surma, minister of infrastructure. “The proposed legislation, if passed, will improve transit service and convenience, and help the province and municipalities build transit-oriented communities along our GO rail system, allowing for more homes, affordable housing options, parkland, retail, and office space near transit.”
The government is responding to requests from municipalities for a new optional funding tool to raise cash to build transit and housing. The “Station Contribution Fee” would allow municipalities to fund the design and construction of new GO stations and recover costs over time as transit-oriented communities are built. This plan would speed up the construction of new GO Transit stations, while also creating new opportunities for mixed-use communities around those stations.
The legislation would also help the City of Toronto to integrate transit services with other regional transit networks by allowing the TTC to enter into cross-boundary service agreements with neighbouring transit agencies, Surma said.
Cities would have to show a reduction in development costs to help offset the fee for developers, such as reduced parking requirements.
In areas where market conditions are not conducive to a single development partner, the fee would allow municipalities to fund the design and construction of new GO stations, and to spread the costs across many developments and over many years.