Canada’s transit agency agrees to delay light rail project, amid struggles to raise $9 billion in funding

Ontario’s transportation authority has agreed to delay the completion of an ambitious light rail transit project linking downtown Toronto to the suburbs, agreeing to work with local municipalities to find more money to finish the work, according to news reports.

Borrowing costs are expected to rise following the move, after the agency ran into budget shortfalls. The firm Moody’s is expected to rate the finances of the project as poor, The Globe and Mail reported.

Last month, Moody’s gave the project a negative outlook, warning that it could take 10 years or more to finish the project. “They [Metrolinx] are borrowing billions of dollars, and in order to borrow that much money, they need it for 30 years,” analyst Dennis de Jong told the paper.

On Tuesday, Metrolinx president and CEO Bruce McCuaig said in a letter to local mayors that he had struck a working group to come up with new ways to bridge the $9 billion gap in funding. He did not say when the group’s work will be complete, but said it would reach the next step in that process within 90 days.

A date for completion has not been set, and Metrolinx did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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