Government of Canada and City of Brampton help shift AcceleRide rapid transit into high gear



    BRAMPTON, ON, Jan. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The AcceleRide bus rapid transit
system moved forward today after the Government of Canada formalized its
$95 million investment by signing a federal-municipal contribution agreement
with the City of Brampton. The agreement was signed by the Honourable Jim
Flaherty, Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Greater Toronto
Area, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities, and Her Worship Susan Fennell, Mayor of
Brampton.
    "The agreement signed today demonstrates this government's unwavering
commitment to the residents of Brampton and the development of transportation
alternatives," said Minister Flaherty. "AcceleRide is part of our long-term
transportation action plan, FLOW. Over time, this plan will help reduce
traffic congestion, strengthen the economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
throughout the Greater Toronto Area."
    "Today we have moved another step closer to achieving our vision of
having a seamless transit network that will benefit the people of Brampton and
transit users across the Greater Toronto Area. It's also an investment that
facilitates sustainable and environmentally friendly growth, which is critical
to Brampton as the second-fastest growing city in Canada," commented Mayor
Fennell.
    "Public transit is a priority for the Government of Canada," said
Minister Cannon. "Projects such as this new transit system will help increase
economic growth and improve the quality of life of residents in one of the
fastest growing areas of Canada."
    FLOW is an initiative of the Government of Canada designed to reduce
traffic congestion, improve the environment and strengthen the economy in the
Greater Toronto Area (GTA). FLOW consists of key transportation infrastructure
projects, including AcceleRide, and was developed to help enhance the quality
of life for families and help businesses increase efficiency in the GTA by
keeping people, traffic and goods FLOWing in the largest metropolitan area in
Canada.
    AcceleRide is a bus rapid transit system which will operate along
Brampton's key transportation corridors linking the downtown to the north and
west areas of the city, as well as to the City of Mississauga and the regional
Municipality of York. The project will be constructed in two phases, the first
expected to be completed by 2010, with ultimate completion anticipated in
2021.
    The federal contribution of $53 million to the City of Brampton for the
first phase of 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. An additional $42 million will be provided via a memorandum of
understanding for the second phase of this project.
    The Province of Ontario provided $95 million to Brampton to support this
project in 2006. The City of Brampton will be responsible for the remainder of
the project costs. Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2008
and be completed by 2013.
    Other transit projects that make up the FLOW action plan include the
construction of a bus rapid transit corridor in Mississauga; the extension of
the Spadina-University subway line to Vaughan Corporate Centre; the
enhancement of the York VIVA rapid transit system; and funding for regional
rapid transit expansion studies in the Regional Municipality of Durham.
    As federal funding is reimbursement-based, funds will be transferred once
the agreement is signed, eligible costs are incurred and all federal
requirements have been satisfied.

    Backgrounders with further information on CSIF, FLOW and Brampton Transit
are attached.

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

    The federal funding for this project is coming 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.

                                     FLOW
                                     ----

    FLOW, the Government of Canada's transportation action plan for the
Greater Toronto Area (GTA), is designed to reduce congestion, cut commute
times, help clear the air and help drive the economy in the GTA.
    It consists of key transportation infrastructure projects that are being
funded and built in the short to medium term. In most cases, the projects are
being cost-shared by the three levels of government - federal, provincial and
municipal.
    The projects were selected following consultations with the Province of
Ontario, mayors in the GTA, regional chairs, municipal councillors and various
community groups.
    This plan was developed to help enhance the quality of life for residents
and help businesses increase efficiency by keeping people, traffic and goods
FLOWing in the largest metropolitan area in Canada.
    Federal funding is contingent on the completion of a due diligence review,
the negotiation and signing of a contribution agreement and completion of any
applicable federal environmental assessments required under the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act.

    The FLOW transit infrastructure projects include the following:

    Brampton AcceleRide

    This project involves the construction of a bus rapid transit system along
Brampton's key transportation corridors to link the downtown to the north and
west areas of the city, as well as to the City of Mississauga and the Regional
Municipality of York.
    The Government of Canada has committed up to $95 million, while the
Province of Ontario has already provided $95 million. The City of Brampton
will be responsible for the remainder of the project costs.
    The project will be constructed in two phases, the first expected to be
completed by 2010, with ultimate completion anticipated in 2021.

    Mississauga Transitway

    The project involves the construction of an east-west dedicated bus
right-of-way across the City of Mississauga between Winston Churchill
Boulevard and Renforth Drive. This project will improve local and
inter-regional bus operations across the City of Mississauga. A total of
11 stations will be constructed along the route.
    The Government of Canada has committed up to $83 million to the project.
The Province of Ontario has provided the City of Mississauga with $63 million
to support the project and has committed to providing an additional
$25 million to GO Transit. The City of Mississauga and GO Transit will be
responsible for the remainder of the project costs.
    The project is expected to be completed by 2012.

    Toronto-York Subway

    The existing Spadina subway line will be extended by 8.6 kilometres
through York University to the Vaughan Corporate Centre.
    The Government of Canada is committing up to $697 million towards the
eligible project costs. The Province of Ontario has already provided
$670 million to a trust for this project. The City of Toronto and Regional
Municipality of York previously committed their contributions and will be
responsible for the remainder of the project costs.
    Federal funding commitments to this project are conditional upon the
completion of a due diligence review, the negotiation of a contribution
agreement and the proponent's adherence to conditions put forth by the federal
Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities.
    Along with funding from all three levels of government, the City of
Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York will be exploring opportunities
for alternative financing and procurement, such as public-private
partnerships.
    The project is expected to be completed by 2015.

    York Region VIVA Phase 2, Part 1

    The VIVA rapid transit system will be enhanced through the construction of
dedicated bus rapid transit systems along Yonge Street, from the Finch subway
station to the Richmond Hill Centre, and along Highway 7, from the Markham
Centre to Yonge Street.
    The Government of Canada is committing up to $85 million towards eligible
project costs.
    Federal funding commitments to this project are conditional upon a
matching financial contribution by the Province of Ontario, the completion of
a due diligence review, the negotiation of a contribution agreement and the
proponent's adherence to conditions put forth by the Minister of Finance and
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
    The project is expected to be completed by 2010.

    Durham Region Rapid Transit Project

    Funding will be provided to the Regional Municipality of Durham to help it
further refine its transit service strategy and bus rapid transit
implementation plans. This will include demonstrating how best to support
anticipated urban growth, assess transit options and their integration with
other services, develop detailed ridership projections and conduct
cost-benefit analyses.
    The Government of Canada is committing up to $2.5 million and the Province
of Ontario up to $2.5 million.
    This rapid transit project is expected to start this year.

    Other Projects

    FLOW also includes three highway projects for which the Province of
Ontario is responsible for determining the appropriate financing and delivery.

    These projects include:

    - the extension of Highway 407 east to Highway 35/115;
    - the widening of Highway 7 in Durham Region; and
    - the extension of Highway 404.
    

    As federal funding is reimbursement-based, the contribution agreement
sets out the conditions and requirements. Once the agreement is signed,
construction begins, costs are incurred and all federal requirements have been
satisfied, funds are transferred.


    Brampton Transit - Fact Sheet
    -----------------------------

    Brampton Transit ridership is growing approximately three times the
national average, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association. In
2007, there were 11,063,837 Brampton Transit riders, a nine per cent increase
over 2006. The national average increase was 3.2 per cent for the first six
months of 2007.
    The City of Brampton is the second fastest growing city in Canada and is
expected to reach a population of 680,000 by the year 2031. Since 2005,
Brampton Transit has increased service levels by more than 50 per cent and has
moved from a hub to a grid system. Brampton Transit has increased its
accessible service to 58 per cent of its total trips. Currently, Brampton
Transit has 21 fully accessible routes; connects with GO Transit, Mississauga
Transit, Toronto Transit Commission, and York Region Transit.
    To meet the growing demands, the City of Brampton has proposed
AcceleRide, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) initiative to improve service in high
demand corridors; encourage increased commuter use; and more effectively
integrate Brampton Transit with other public transit networks throughout the
GTA.
    BRT involves a combination of measures intended to give buses priority
over other vehicles in terms of travel time, through-traffic signal priority
and/or design features of the roadway including, in some cases, provision of
separate bus ways. BRT also involves enhanced passenger facilities,
information, and transit vehicles.
    AcceleRide will introduce separate, enhanced services to encourage
commuter usage on Queen Street East/Regional Road 107, Main Street and Steeles
Avenue in the first phase of the project. These three BRT corridors will be
fully integrated with a citywide transportation transit network. In time,
services will be expanded to other high demand corridors enhancing
connectivity within and beyond Brampton's boundaries.
    Since March 2003, the City of Brampton has invested $2.4 million toward
development and support of the AcceleRide initiative. On March 23, 2006, the
Ontario Provincial Government announced a $95 million commitment to the
program. And on March 6, 2007, the Federal Government announced up to
$95 million in capital funding for the AcceleRide project.
    In November 2007, Brampton Transit launched eRide a new and innovative
web-based trip planner. This easy-to-use online tool helps riders calculate
their journey from start to finish, including walking and transfer times.
    www.brampton.ca/transit

    About Brampton- Brampton was recognized in 2007 by the World Health
Organization as an International Safe Community, the first in the GTA and one
of only 10 cities in North America to receive this designation. With a diverse
multicultural population representing more than 60 different cultures and
100 languages, the City is home to more than 8,000 businesses and is the first
winner of the National Communities in Bloom Competition. For more information
visit www.brampton.ca




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, (613) 991-0700; Media
Relations: Communications, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Gordon
Smith, Manager, Media Relations, City of Brampton, (905) 874-3426


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