Mississauga bus rapid transit keeps moving forward



    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Mississauga bus rapid transit
(BRT) project continued to move forward today with the official signing of
contribution agreements between the Government of Canada, the City of
Mississauga, GO Transit and the Province of Ontario.
    The agreements were signed at the Mississauga Transit garage 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; the Honourable Jim Bradley, Ontario
Minister of Transportation; Her Worship Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga;
and Peter Smith, Chairman of GO Transit.
    "The agreements signed today demonstrate our government's unwavering
commitment to the people of Mississauga by providing them with a new transit
option," said Minister Flaherty. "Our long-term transportation action plan,
FLOW, will reduce traffic congestion and improve efficiency while reducing
greenhouse gas emissions throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)."
    "Today brings us another step closer to delivering rapid transit across
the region," said Minister Bradley. "The Mississauga BRT will provide better
public transit service, combat congestion and provide more frequent and
accessible service for commuters."
    "The signing of this agreement represents a key milestone in the
development of Mississauga's rapid transit program," said Mayor McCallion.
"The Mississauga bus rapid transit project will help people move through
Mississauga quickly, efficiently and safely by getting people out of their
cars and onto public transit."
    "These investments are a great example of co-operation by all levels of
government," said Mr. Smith. "GO will keep working with Mississauga to reduce
traffic congestion and give people a fast and convenient way to go by
transit."
    "Public transit is a priority for the Government of Canada," said
Minister Cannon. "Projects such as this rapid transit system will also help
increase economic growth and improve the quality of life of residents in one
of the fastest growing areas in Canada."
    FLOW is an initiative of the Government of Canada designed to reduce
traffic congestion, improve the environment and strengthen the economy in the
GTA. FLOW will help create a seamless transportation system across the GTA -
keeping people, traffic and goods FLOWing in the largest metropolitan area in
Canada.
    Other transit projects included in the FLOW action plan are the
construction of a bus rapid transit system along Brampton's key transportation
corridors; the extension of the Spadina subway line to Vaughan Corporate
Centre; the enhancement of the York VIVA rapid transit system; and funding for
the development of a long-term transit strategy in the Regional Municipality
of Durham.
    The federal contribution of $83 million to the City of Mississauga and
GO Transit for the bus rapid transit project comes from the Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund, which supports large-scale strategic infrastructure
projects that improve quality of life and further economic growth.
    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.
    The Province of Ontario's contribution of $113 million includes
$65 million to Mississauga, disbursed in 2006 to support this project and an
additional $48 million to GO Transit for its portion of the project.
    The City of Mississauga and GO Transit will be responsible for the
remainder of the project costs. Construction of the project is expected to be
complete by 2012.

    A backgrounder with further information on the Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund, FLOW, the City of Mississauga and the Province of Ontario
is attached.


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

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

    The federal funding for this project is allocated 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 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 improve connections with the City of
Mississauga, the Regional Municipality of York and the City of Toronto.
    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 is expected to be
complete by 2010, with ultimate completion anticipated in 2021.

    Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

    The project involves the construction of an east-west busway 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, with one existing station being incorporated into the busway.
    The Government of Canada has committed up to $83 million to the project.
The Province of Ontario has provided the City of Mississauga with $65 million
to support the project and has committed to providing an additional
$48 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 Spadina Subway Extension

    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 contributed
$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 contingent 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
Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities.
    In addition to funding from all three levels of government, the City of
Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York will also 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. The Province of Ontario has also committed $85 million to this
project.
    The project is expected to be complete by 2010.

    Durham Region Long-Term Transit Strategy

    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.
    The development of this strategy is expected to start this year.

    Other Projects

    FLOW also includes three highway projects for which the Province of
Ontario will determine the appropriate financing and delivery.

    Those 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.

                           THE CITY OF MISSISSAUGA
                           -----------------------

    Mississauga is Canada's sixth-largest city with a population of more than
700,000. With well-established infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities,
the city is considered to be an employer of choice, delivering quality
municipal programs and services to its citizens. Mississauga is a dynamic,
diverse and progressive municipality known for its economic strength and for
being Canada's safest city.
    The Mississauga BRT project will see the creation of a new busway and
11 stations along the route, with one existing station being incorporated into
the busway, which will connect Winston Churchill Boulevard in the west to
Renforth Drive in the east. The busway will run along the Highway 402,
Eastgate Parkway and Eglinton Avenue corridors. The Mississauga BRT project
forms part of a planned Greater Toronto Area-wide (GTA-wide) initiative to
create a 100-km busway connecting municipalities from Oakville to Pickering.
    The Mississauga BRT project will complement and connect with local bus
services and interregional transit and subway systems, linking high-density
development and employment centres across Mississauga. Upon its implementation
in 2012, the Mississauga BRT project will support extensive bus service for
thousands of riders per day, making it faster and easier to travel to, from
and through Mississauga and the GTA.

                           THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
                           -----------------------

    The Ontario government is tackling gridlock to build a strong and
prosperous economy by getting people onto public transit with record
investments and innovation.

    MoveOntario 2020

    MoveOntario 2020, the Province of Ontario's $17.5 billion rapid transit
plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, will double the kilometers of
new and improved rapid transit, starting in 2008. MoveOntario 2020 investments
will create hundreds of jobs and remove 300 million car trips from Ontario
roads.
    In addition to record investments in public transit, the Ontario
government will invest $1.6 billion in GO Transit by 2010, including
$530 million to its capital and operating costs in 2007-2008.

    Metrolinx

    Metrolinx (the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority), an agency
created by the Province of Ontario, will deliver a regional transportation
plan to fundamentally improve our quality of life in the Greater Toronto and
Hamilton Area (GTHA). Metrolinx is responsible for prioritizing and
implementing MoveOntario 2020. With a real focus on public transit, people and
businesses will be able to move more easily across the GTHA, making cities
more liveable and the economy stronger, while protecting the environment.
Metrolinx is also developing a transportation investment strategy and rolling
five-year capital plan for the GTHA.

                                                              February 2008
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Nicole Lippa-Gasparro, Press Secretary, Office of the Ontario Minister of
Transportation, Toronto, (416) 327-1815; Media Relations, Communications,
Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch,
Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Toronto, (416) 327-1158; Ivana Di Millo,
Director, Communications, City of Mississauga, (905) 615-3200, ext. 5047;
Edmund Shea, GO Transit, (416) 869-3600, ext. 5328


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