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Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said governments will have to take the unpopular step of finding new ways to pay for transit improvements. (CBC)

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan says gridlock in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area is so bad, it’s holding back the entire Canadian economy.

"The gridlock challenge in the Greater Toronto—Hamilton area is probably the greatest impediment to productivity improvements in the Canadian economy," said Duncan Tuesday.

"Whatever government of whatever political stripe is going to have to come to terms with the reality that there will have to be new sources of revenue to support it."

Duncan’s comments come ahead of his planned departure from provincial politics and days before his Ontario Liberals are set to pick a new leader and premier at a leadership convention this weekend.  

Duncan acknowledges that finding revenue to pay for a new transit plan will be tough but he says the federal government should be expected to kick in some money.

"I think Canada still is one of the few jurisdictions where the federal government doesn't actively participate in funding public transit," said Duncan.