Government of Canada and Durham Region enter a new era in public transit



    OSHAWA, ON, Feb. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada today
formalized its $2.5 million contribution to the Regional Municipality of
Durham for the development of a long-term transit strategy.
    During a ceremony at the Durham Region transit depot, the Honourable Jim
Flaherty, MP for Whitby-Oshawa and Minister of Finance, on behalf of the
Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities, and Roger Anderson, Chair of the Regional Municipality of Durham,
signed the federal contribution agreement.
    "Durham Region is about to enter a new era in public transit as it
determines modern transportation alternatives for individuals and families in
communities like Whitby, Oshawa and Brooklin," said Minister Flaherty.
"Congestion has been getting progressively worse in and around Durham Region
and the Government of Canada is working with the region to ease traffic
congestion, strengthen the economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
    "Durham Region Transit carries 7.5 million passengers per year. This
figure is expected to increase following implementation of the BRT study and
other supporting transit improvements. The study will identify the BRT network
of transit services across the region, with the goal of providing fast and
reliable transit options between the major growth centres. This is a network
designed to compete with the use of private vehicles, reduce delays with
faster, more convenient trips, reduce congestion and impact the environment
and economic growth in a positive way," said Mr. Anderson.
    Key elements of the long-term transit strategy will include:

    
    - reviewing best practices in similar-sized jurisdictions in Canada and
      internationally;
    - developing a multi-modal transit ridership and traffic forecasting
      model for Durham region;
    - developing alternative transit network strategies, including rapid
      transit technology options and improved linkages with other transit
      networks in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and completing a cost-
      benefit analysis of each alternative;
    - undertaking a consultation process with residents and stakeholders in
      the region;
    - preparing transit and transportation demand management (TDM) supportive
      land use guidelines that support sustainable development and
      transportation patterns; and
    - developing a recommended transit network strategy and an implementation
      plan.

    "Improving public transit is a priority for the Government of Canada,"
said Minister Cannon. "Investments such as this one will help the region
determine which transit system will contribute to economic growth and improve
the quality of life of residents in one of the fastest growing areas of
Canada."
    Durham Region's long-term transportation strategy is part of the
Government of Canada's transportation action plan for the GTA, called "FLOW."
This nearly $1 billion initiative will help keep people, traffic and goods
moving in the largest metropolitan area in Canada.
    FLOW also includes the extension of Toronto's Spadina subway line, rapid
transit projects in Mississauga, Brampton and York region, the widening of
Highway 7 in Durham region, the extension of Highway 404 north beyond
Newmarket and the extension of Highway 407 east to Highway 35/115.
    As federal funding is reimbursement-based, funds will be transferred once
the agreement is signed, eligible costs have been incurred and all federal
requirements have been satisfied.

    Backgrounders with further information on FLOW are attached.


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

                                     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.

    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, with the first expected to
be completed by 2010 and 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 complete 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
$870 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 complete 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 complete 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 is also committing 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 have incurred and all federal requirements have
been satisfied, funds are transferred.

                                                               February 2008

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Backgrounder
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    Durham Region Transit (DRT) is an integrated transit system serving
7.5 million passengers annually in eight municipalities. Following
amalgamation in January 2006, the 2,590 km(2) service area was divided into
the west (Ajax, Pickering), centre (Whitby), east (Oshawa, Clarington) and
north (Brock, Scugog, Uxbridge) service sectors. The DRT's Specialized
Services provides transit for 3,000 clients with mobility challenges.
    DRT operates 62 routes and high school specials, and integrates additional
service with GO Bus along the Highway 2, Highway 12 and Highway 407 corridors
with a "one fare anywhere" agreement. Customers travelling within Durham
region can transfer quickly and easily from DRT to GO Bus at no additional
cost. Customers may also reduce the cost of their commute with co-fare when
travelling on DRT buses to or from local GO train stations.
    Over 70 per cent of the conventional fleet is environmentally friendly,
air conditioned and accessible. The accessible features allow DRT to designate
more accessible routes and offer transit options for persons with wheelchairs.
    In 2008, DRT celebrated its 15 millionth passenger milestone. DRT measures
success not just by growth in ridership and customer satisfaction but also in
reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality.
    For more DRT information, visit www.durhamregiontransit.com or call
1-866-247-0055.
    




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; Ted
Galinis, General Manager, Durham Region Transit, (905) 668-4113, ext. 2112,
ted.galinis@region.durham.on.ca; Sherri Munns-Audet, Director, Corporate
Communications, Regional Municipality of Durham, (905) 668-7711, ext. 2068,
sherri.munns-audet@region.durham.on.ca


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