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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week revealed further details about a program that will help fund public transit projects. Known as the Public Transit Fund, it will provide permanent support for large-scale projects to address traffic congestion, reduce travel time for goods and people, and support economic growth in Canada's largest cities.Projects must have a minimum of $1 billion in total estimated costs to be eligible for funding, staffers from Harper's office said in a statement. (All figures are cited in Canadian dollars.) Under the program, federal contributions will cover one-third of those costs.The program will provide funds for Toronto's SmartTrack regional express rail line, which will connect the city to Mississauga and Markham, Ontario. The government will contribute about $2.6 billion for the project, after a formal application is received and approved, according to Harper's office."Our government understands that Canada’s largest cities depend on public transit infrastructure to fight gridlock, reduce congestion for people and businesses, and support economic development," Harper said in a statement.
Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) officials welcomed the announcement of the funding program's parameters."The new Public Transit Fund has the potential to create legacy transit infrastructure in Canadian cities," said CUTA President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Leclerc. "We look forward to continuing to advise and provide information to the government about Canada's growing transit industry as this new fund takes effect."
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