Ontario to launch 'green bonds' to help fund transit
(Toronto Sun files)
Ontario will launch “green bonds” next year to fund major environmentally friendly infrastructure projects like transit, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Wednesday.
The government will consult with experts around the world on how best to structure the bonds to make them attractive to investors.
“Green bonds are a great tool to raise capital for a project with specific environmental benefits,” Wynne said. “This tool would empower people to invest in the province’s future and in their own future.”
Finance Minister Charles Sousa said he will introduce legislation to allow for the bonds, which he expects could raise billions of dollars.
Sousa’s staff said the government — currently struggling with a debt of about $270 billion — would not be taking on an even bigger load.
“We are always concerned about the level of debt that exists,” Sousa said. “The last thing we want to do is pass on the burden of debt to future generations.”
Wynne has also struck a panel, chaired by Anne Golden, to look at new revenue tools to fund transit such as higher gas taxes or parking levies, but it has yet to make its recommendations.
The Golden panel is looking at funding transit projects for the Greater Toronto Area, while the green bonds would address infrastructure projects across the province, she said.
Progressive Conservative finance critic Vic Fedeli said it’s typical of Wynne to jump the gun on her own panel, and announce essentially another revenue tool for transit.
Fedeli described the bonds as a “gimmick” that will have to be paid back by taxpayers.
“Long-term borrowing is all it is,” he said. “I think the families know that enough is enough. It should be paid out of existing revenues.”
Ontario plans to build new transit at a cost of billions of dollars. Do you think:
Gridlock is so bad that the government can't afford NOT to build it
The provincial debt is so high that it should wait until it the books are balanced