‘We just can’t afford to let our infrastructure continue to age,’ Mayor John Tory says Toronto has embarked on its “busiest” construction season ever with slightly more than $1 billion budgeted this year for work on roads, bridges, expressways, sewers and water mains, Mayor John Tory says.

“We just can’t afford to let our infrastructure continue to age,” Tory told reporters at a news conference at city hall on Monday. “We’ve got to get on with the construction season.”

Toronto’s transportation and water infrastructure is used by millions of city residents, businesses and visitors every day and that infrastructure needs to be reviewed, renewed and upgraded to ensure the city can cope with booming growth, he said.

“Over time, that use by all of those people, increasing numbers of people, takes its toll.”

Tory described the schedule as “robust” and the funding commitments as “massive.” The projects will ultimately improve daily life in Toronto, he added.

Expect a ‘busier’ summer, mayor says

The mayor said the projects will cause disruption but it’s important to remember that each project represents tax dollars at work.

“It will be a busier summer, with all of this work on our roads taking place.”

The mayor said the money set aside for infrastructure projects needs to “stay put.” Cuts by the provincial government could put these commitments at risk, he added.

Projects ‘need to be planned well in advance’

“Our city cannot afford to make tough financial decisions after the budget has already been approved. These investments need to be planned well in advance,” he said.

“We will remind everyone, including the government of Ontario, that Toronto is the economic engine of this province and this country.”

The planned work will result in paving of about 140 kilometres of roads and improvements to about 200 kilometres of sewers and water mains, the city said in a news release on Monday.

Construction will take place across Toronto on more than 600 roads.

The city said it will try to co-ordinate construction to minimize disruption.

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