QUEEN’S PARK – On June 14 of this year, we had another incredible announcement at the Bombardier plant in my riding of Thunder Bay–Atikokan. In June, I had the pleasure of announcing 770 million in provincial dollars for 182 light rail vehicles, with an option for 118 more. Much of the work and the final assembly will occur at our local plant.
This recent purchase flows from our campaign commitment in 2003 to revive mass transit funding in Ontario. In 2006 and 2008, we announced contracts for a total of 460 subway cars valued at over a billion dollars, including over 300 million in provincial dollars. In 2009 and 2010 we announced two contracts for 45 GO Transit bi-level cars worth $120 million, including 94 million provincial dollars. And still there’s more. In 2009, I had the pleasure, along with the Premier, of announcing at our local plant a $1.2-billion contract for replacement streetcars, with 416 million in unbudgeted provincial dollars.
In total, these contracts represent a provincial commitment of roughly $1.6 billion, and that funding has played a critical role in producing $3.1 billion in mass transit contracts.
Just yesterday, the leader of the NDP said she opposed everything our government does. She and her party oppose many of these investments, investments that have created hundreds of jobs at the plant in my riding. I’m told that Bombardier will be hiring an additional 200 to 400 people very shortly in addition to the hundreds already hard at work, and they may be implementing a third shift. These contracts are part of the reason why Thunder Bay currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the province.