Bus rapid transit paves the way for improved access to York University



    TORONTO, July 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Increased transit access to York
University became a reality today with the groundbreaking ceremony for a bus
rapid transit route that will operate between Downsview subway station and the
University.
    The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance and Minister responsible
for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence
Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable
George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure;
the Honourable Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister of Transportation; His Worship
David Miller, Mayor of Toronto; and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Chair,
Councillor Adam Giambrone attended this ceremony.
    "York University has become a centre of unparalleled growth and activity,
resulting in traffic congestion that is getting progressively worse," said
Minister Flaherty. "While we all know designing and building the Spadina
subway extension will take time, the additional six kilometers of dedicated
bus lanes are an interim solution that's both practical and efficient."
    "Rapid transit infrastructure for commuters, residents and students in
the Greater Toronto Area is a priority for the Government of Canada," said
Minister Cannon. "On behalf of our government, I am pleased to be breaking
ground and paving the way for improved access to York University."
    "Greater economic prosperity, cleaner air and smart growth for our
province have been championed here today," said Minister Smitherman. "As we
continue to work with our federal and municipal partners on vital
infrastructure projects, we will promote an integrated system that envisions
the kind of growth and environmental stewardship that sustains our unique
quality of life and economic success."
    "Starting next summer, this dedicated bus line will zip students and
staff from Downsview to York much more quickly. This is one of many transit
improvements in Toronto and around the province that the McGuinty government
is helping to get moving," said Minister Bradley.
    "Today we celebrate the progress that can be made when all orders of
government work together toward a common goal: to reduce greenhouse gases,
stimulate urban development and economic activity, and to enhance our public
transit network," said Mayor David Miller. "This dedicated busway will provide
reliable bus service to students and other transit riders where it is needed.
I am pleased to be working with our federal and provincial partners to bring
faster and cleaner transportation options to Torontonians."
    "TTC service will continue to improve with the partnership of the
Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, and the City of Toronto
allowing us to expand our network with this dedicated busway," said Councillor
Giambrone. "Riders, and in particular students of York University who have
been frustrated with crowded, irregular service to campus, will see a real
improvement in the reliability of the service they count on between Downsview
Station and York University."
    The BRT route is part of a two-phase project to improve access to
York University. The first phase, known as the York University Busway, will
provide six kilometers of dedicated bus-only lanes from Downsview subway
station to the heart of York University. The second phase is the Toronto-York
Spadina subway extension to Vaughan Corporate Centre. Construction has now
begun on phase one and the busway project will be completed in time for the
2009-2010 school year.

    The federal contribution of $9.7 million to the City of Toronto for the
bus rapid transit project comes from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund
(CSIF), which supports large-scale strategic infrastructure projects that
improve quality of life and further economic growth. It is part of an overall
commitment of $350 million to the TTC and the City of Toronto for improvements
to subways and subway infrastructure; streetcar infrastructure and dedicated
streetcar lanes; buses and bus infrastructure; and the PRESTO farecard system
for the GTA.
    As with all federal contributions, funding is reimbursement-based, and
funds are transferred once the contribution agreement has been signed,
eligible costs have been incurred and all federal requirements have been
satisfied.
    The City of Toronto is contributing $18.4 million. Provincial funding for
the project was provided in the 2007 Budget, through a one-time payout of the
province's commitments under the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund
agreement. In total, the TTC has allocated $9.7 million in provincial funding
for this project. Since 2003, Ontario has committed more than $2.7 billion to
help the City of Toronto improve and expand transit, including provincial gas
tax funding of close to $524 million.

    Backgrounders on the CSIF and how the City of Toronto uses federal and
provincial funding are attached.

    
                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                           YORK UNIVERSITY BUSWAY
                           ----------------------

    The York University Busway will significantly improve the speed and
reliability of bus services between Downsview Station and York University. The
busway project involves the designation of existing High Occupancy Vehicle
traffic lanes on Dufferin Street and Allen Road as bus-only. Additionally, new
bus-only roadways will be constructed in the hydro corridor between Keele
Street and Dufferin Avenue, just north of Finch Avenue, as well as on York
University lands.
    A Design-Build contract for the busway was awarded in November 2007.
Construction of the busway will begin in the Summer of 2008, and is expected
to be complete in the summer of 2009. The busway is scheduled to open in
August 2009.

                     CANADA STRATEGIC INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
                     ------------------------------------

    The federal funding for these improvements comes from the Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund (CSIF). Through the fund, the Government of Canada works
with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, as well as with the
private sector, to meet strategic infrastructure needs throughout the country.
CSIF supports large-scale strategic infrastructure projects that improve
quality of life and further economic growth.
    The federal commitment of $303.5 million will allow for improvements in
the following areas:

    - Subway infrastructure - Seventy-eight new subway cars are being
      purchased and repairs or improvements are being made to tracks and
      tunnels; escalators and elevators; fire ventilation; and radio systems.
    - Streetcar infrastructure - Tracks will be repaired or replaced along
      numerous routes and dedicated streetcar lanes will be constructed on
      St. Clair Avenue.
    - Bus infrastructure - New hybrid buses are being purchased, and bus
      rapid transit links will be constructed from York University to
      Downsview Station and along Yonge Street from Finch Station to
      Steeles Avenue.

    An additional commitment of $46.5 million will be available to the TTC
upon successful completion of a proposal for a farecard for the Greater
Toronto Area (GTA).
    In addition to the $350 million the Government of Canada has already
committed to the TTC Strategic Capital Projects funding, the federal
government is providing nearly $1 billion in funding through FLOW, the federal
action plan for the GTA.
    The plan will help reduce congestion, cut commute times, clean our air and
improve the flow of goods and people in the GTA. FLOW funding is being
allocated to the following projects:

    - up to $95 million for the Brampton AcceleRide project;
    - up to $83 million for the Mississauga bus rapid transit corridor;
    - up to $85 million for the York VIVA Phase II - Stage I project;
    - up to $697 million to support the extension of the Toronto-York subway;
      and
    - up to $2.5 million to help the Region of Durham develop a long-term
      transit strategy.

    Through the $33-billion Building Canada infrastructure plan, the
Government of Canada will provide long-term, stable and predictable funding to
help meet infrastructure needs across Canada
    Building Canada will invest in infrastructure that will support a stronger
economy, a cleaner environment, and more prosperous communities. In short - a
stronger, safer and better country.
    The Government of Canada is also allocating funds to several other transit
projects in the GTA, including:

    - $385 million for GO Transit; and
    - $50 million for York Region Rapid Transit - VIVA Quick Start.

    In addition, through the Gas Tax Fund, the federal government is providing
$407.3 million from 2005 to 2009, which will permit the TTC to purchase more
than 700 clean diesel and hybrid buses, 156 subway cars and 90 Wheel-Trans
vehicles.
    Gas Tax funding was increased to $2 billion per year for a further four
years from 2010 to 2014. Earlier this year, and in response to ongoing
requests for stable, long-term funding, Budget 2008 extended the
$2-billion-per-year fund beyond 2014 and made it permanent. This permanent
fund will provide municipalities with a reliable source of funding that will
help them better plan and finance their infrastructure needs.

                       THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION
                       ------------------------------

    The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) moves 460 million people every year -
about 1.5 million riders every weekday. The TTC is the third largest public
transit system in North America serving some 4.5 million people in the Greater
Toronto Area, with a network of subways, streetcars, buses, and a specialized
service, Wheel-Trans, for people with disabilities. An arms-length agency of
the City of Toronto, the TTC is committed to meeting the growing needs of the
region with subway and light rail expansion, carrying an additional
175 million riders by 2021. For more information, visit www.ttc.ca.

                                                                    July 2008

    Backgrounder

    July, 2008

    How the City of Toronto uses the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund
                     and other Federal/Provincial Funding
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Federal Funding

    The Government of Canada funding is making significant contributions to
the City of Toronto for the renewal, rehabilitation and expansion of Toronto
Transit Commission (TTC) infrastructure. These funds include:

    - The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF) providing up to
      $350 million for transit from 2007-2012 and;
    - The Federal Gas Tax Transfer (Gas Tax) providing $407.3 million by
      2010, which is being fully allocated to public transit.

    The funding provided by the federal government through these two programs
is contributing to:

    - 1,000 new hybrid and clean diesel buses to replace aging TTC vehicles
      and provide increased services as part of the Ridership Growth
      Strategy:

          - These buses will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions
            with improved hybrid and clean diesel technology and;
          - Increasing the bus fleet with new vehicles will ensure that
            existing transit riders continue to use public transit and more
            people are drawn in to use transit because of the increased
            service.

    - 234 new subway cars.
    - 90 new Wheel-Trans vehicles.
    - Bus Rapid Transit development at:

          - Yonge Street from Finch to Steeles and;
          - Downsview Station to York University.

    - St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Project.
    - Improved accessibility at subway stations.
    - Upgrading of subway and streetcar infrastructure.

    Transit is a cornerstone in the City of Toronto's Climate Change Plan.
Investment in Toronto's transit system improves the environment by reducing
greenhouse gases and air pollution every time a person leaves their car at
home and takes transit. It also supports the economy of Toronto and the GTA by
providing an alternative to the car and relieving road congestion.

    Provincial Funding

    Since 2003, Ontario has committed over $2.7 billion to help the City of
Toronto improve and expand transit.
    Provincial Gas Tax funding for the City of Toronto totals close to
$524 million for the first four years of the program.
    The 2008 Ontario Budget committed $393.1 million in transit funding to the
City of Toronto. This will help increase capacity on the Yonge Subway Line,
fund new subway cars, and fund planning for the Transit City Light Rail
Transit (LRT). This $393.1 million is in addition to the commitment of $206
million in State of Good Repair funding to the City of Toronto in fall 2007.
    In June 2007, the Province committed $11.5 billion to support the
$17.5 billion MoveOntario 2020 initiative. MoveOntario 2020 is a landmark
12-year plan with 52 public transit projects in the Greater Toronto and
Hamilton areas - the largest public transit investment in Canadian history.
Projects in Toronto include the extension of the Yonge subway line north to
Highway 7 and completion of Toronto's Transit City LRT plan, which would see
new LRT lines across the city.

    Toronto Transit Commission Facts:

    - TTC carries 1.47 million riders every day with over 460 million riders
      per year
    - TTC carries 85 per cent of the transit riders in the GTA
    - Twelve per cent of TTC riders live outside the City of Toronto
    - TTC is the largest transit system in Canada and the third largest in
      North America, behind New York City and Mexico City.
    

    Media contacts:

    Stuart Green, Office of the Mayor, 416-338-7119
    Danny Nicholson, TTC, 416-420-0776




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Laurel Ostfield, Press Secretary, Office of Minister Energy and  
Infrastructure, (416) 327-4418; Media Relations, Communications, Transport
Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Nicole Lippa-Gasparro, Press Secretary, Office
of the Minister of Transportation, (416) 327-1815; Stuart Green, Deputy
Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor, City of Toronto, (416)
338-7119; Danny Nicholson, Media Relations, Toronto Transit Commission, (416)
420-0776; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news
releases and speeches at  www.tc.gc.ca/e-news and keep up to date on the
latest from Transport Canada. This news release may be made available in
alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890