Tuesday, the Ontario government announced $750 million in funding (in the form of a green bond) for environmentally friendly, low-carbon infrastructure projects, the majority of which is dedicated to transit in the GHTA.
Proceeds from the bond will help fund eight projects that will improve transit, education, health care, and employment across the province.
“Effectively combating climate change requires smart investments in environmentally friendly infrastructure projects such as improving energy efficiency and building more public transit,” Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, said in a statement. “Green bonds give all Ontarians the opportunity to invest in climate actions that will protect the environment, strengthen the economy and improve everyday life.”
The funding will go to the following projects:
- Eglinton Crosstown LRT: $402 million for things like constructing electric powered transit vehicles that produce near-zero emissions.
- York VivaNEXT Bus Rapid Transit Expansion: $100 million to improve access to public transit.
- Go Transit Regional Express Rail: $200 million to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using electricity instead of diesel in trains. The funds will also be used for LEED gold-level certification for all Regional Express Rail stations and facilities
Green bonds were pioneered by the World Bank in 2008 as a tool to raise capital for projects with environmental benefits. The government guarantees a return for each investor. The maturity date for paying back the bond is also quite slow — Ontario priced a $750 million bond with a maturity date of January 27, 2023.
This is the second green bond Ontario has issued. The first bond was issued on Oct. 2, 2014 in the amount of $500 million.
Ontario is the first province in Canada to issue green bonds.