Provincial Budget a Winner for CAA members



    QUEEN'S PARK, March 26 /CNW/ - CAA Ontario is pleased to see a provincial
budget that understands a healthy transportation network helps foster a
stronger economy and improved lifestyle for our members. Ontarians will soon
benefit from the provincial government's historic investments in public
transit, municipal roads and bridges, highways as well as strategies that
improve the environment, says CAA Ontario.
    "This budget clearly shows the Ontario government understands the need
for a multi-pronged approach to sustainable transportation," said Kris
Barnier, Provincial Affairs Special for CAA Ontario and Co-Chair of the
Ontario Worst Roads campaign.
    CAA is thrilled with a total investment of $1 billion for a municipal
infrastructure program that includes an additional $400 million for municipal
roads and bridges as well as $497 million for transit projects in Toronto and
Hamilton. This adds to the already earlier announced $450 million earmarked
for key municipal infrastructure projects.
    As a key sponsor of Ontario's Worst Roads campaign, CAA has long been
calling on senior levels of government to help municipalities repair an
infrastructure system that has been aging and crumbling. These are roads and
bridges commuters count on to get to work, home, and other places important to
them.
    Today, the Ontario government answered that call. With many of Ontario's
bridges nearing the end of their life-cycle, the government is clearly making
a wise decision through its 5-year $448 million initiative to excel
provincial-bridge improvements. This money will start to flow this year as
part of the Ontario government's 2008 highway funding totaling nearly
$1.5 billion.
    CAA is equally as pleased to see increased funding for public transit
that along with repairing roads will reduce traffic congestion and improve air
quality. Items such as; the improvements to GO Transit infrastructure, the
$314 million to municipalities in gas tax revenues and the aforementioned
$497 million announcement for transit projects in Toronto and Hamilton.
    CAA also supports the Next Generations Jobs fund that includes efforts to
support job growth in sectors aiming to reduce emissions, research alternative
fuels, and save energy. Extending Retail sales tax exemptions for ENERGYSTAR
household appliances and bicycles will help Ontarians do their part for our
environment.
    This budget truly sees the importance of an integrated approach to
transportation that includes investment in roads and bridges, the environment
and public transit, something CAA is a stronger advocate for.

    CAA Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club offering insurance, travel and
emergency road services. There are close to 2.2 million CAA members in Ontario
and 4.8 million members in Canada.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Kris Barnier, Provincial Affairs
Specialist, 60 Commerce Valley Dr. East, Thornhill, Ontario, Office: (905)
771-3457, Toll free: 1-800-268-3750, Ext. 3194, Fax: (905) 771-3292, Mobile:
(416) 526-6403, Kb8@caasco.ca


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