Transit funding keeps the Toronto Transit Commission and commuters moving forward



    TORONTO, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Subways and their tracks, dedicated
streetcar lanes and buses will be improved across Toronto thanks to a
$303.5- million contribution agreement signed today by the Government of
Canada, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
    The agreement was signed at the TTC Malvern Bus Division and Garage by
the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities; His Worship Mayor David Miller, City of Toronto; and Adam
Giambrone, Chair of the TTC. Also present were the Honourable Jim Flaherty,
Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Greater Toronto Area, and
the Honourable Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister of Transportation.
    "The Government of Canada is committed to improving transit
infrastructure for commuters and residents in the Greater Toronto Area," said
Minister Cannon. "Our government is pleased to be signing this contribution
agreement today."
    "This transit funding will help cut commute times, reduce congestion and
drive the economy for the benefit of residents of the GTA," said Minister
Flaherty.
    "I am pleased that we've been able to work collaboratively with our
partners in the federal government to secure this funding," said Mayor Miller.
"Public transit is the lifeline for many of the city's neighbourhoods and it's
also an important part of our strategy to green our city. The more we invest
in it, the more we are able to enhance the lives of all Torontonians."
    "This year, the TTC is making some of the most significant service
improvements in its history," said Councillor Giambrone. "Today's announcement
of federal funding will help ensure we have the vehicles and infrastructure in
place to provide that service."
    The federal contribution 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 as
      part of the St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Project.
    - 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 $46.5 million will be made available to the TTC upon
successful completion of a proposal for a fare card for the Greater Toronto
Area (GTA).
    "Convenient and reliable public transit is a priority for the Ontario
government," said Minister Bradley. "That is why we have matched the federal
TTC contribution announced today as part of the $2.3 billion in provincial
funding granted since 2003 to help the TTC provide the type of service that
will attract riders, reduce congestion and contribute to a healthier
environment for GTA residents."
    Improvements to the TTC network will help provide a safe and efficient
transit system in the GTA and encourage more people to use public transit.
This will help alleviate traffic congestion on Toronto's streets and highways,
and provide the quality services needed to meet the demands of Toronto-area
commuters.
    The federal contribution comes from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure
Fund, which supports large-scale strategic infrastructure projects that
improve quality of life and further economic growth.
    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 $350 million and the Province of
Ontario provided $303.5 million in funding from 2005 to 2007 for these
improvements.
    Backgrounders with further information on federal and provincial funding
in the GTA and how the City of Toronto uses federal funding are attached.

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

             FEDERAL TRANSIT FUNDING IN THE GREATER TORONTO AREA
             ---------------------------------------------------

    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.
    A contribution of $46.5 million will be available to the TTC upon
successful completion of a proposal for a fare card for the Greater Toronto
Area (GTA).
    The federal contribution 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 as
      part of the St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Project.
    - 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.

    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 almost $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.

    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 over
700 clean diesel and hybrid buses, 156 subway cars and 90 Wheel-Trans
vehicles.
    The 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 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.
    The Government of Ontario invested $303.5 million for TTC capital cost
projects, including:

    - $110.9 million for the purchase of new hybrid vehicles, including
      subway cars and buses, as well as track repairs and improvements;
    - $14.6 million for the construction of dedicated streetcar lanes as part
      of the St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Project; and
    - $13.7 million for the construction of a bus rapid transit corridor from
      York University to Downsview Station and along Yonge Street from Finch
      Station to Steeles Avenue.

    The McGuinty government has made significant investments to strengthen
public transit in Ontario. Since 2003, the government has invested
$5.6 billion in public transit, including $2.3 billion for the TTC and
$1.8 billion for GO Transit. This funding also includes:

    - $670 million in funding for the construction of the Toronto-York
      Spadina subway extension, which will deliver six new subway stations
      extending into the Region of York;
    - gas tax funding - by 2010, the province will have provided $1.6 billion
      in gas tax funding to Ontario municipalities; and
    - the Ontario Bus Replacement Program that provides $50 million annually
      to Ontario municipalities to support the replacement of both
      conventional and specialized municipal transit buses.

    The McGuinty government has also introduced the Presto card, launching the
pilot phase of an integrated fare collection system that will enable commuters
to travel on public transit from Durham to Hamilton using a single transit
card. For more information, visit www.prestocard.ca/.

                                                                   March 2008

    Toronto
    Backgrounder

    March 18, 2008

              HOW THE CITY OF TORONTO USES ALLOCATIONS FROM THE
          CANADA STRATEGIC INFRASTRUCTURE FUND AND THE GAS TAX FUND
          ---------------------------------------------------------

    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 to 2012; and
    - the Federal Gas Tax Transfer (Gas Tax Fund), providing $407.3 million,
      which is being fully allocated to public transit.

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

    - the purchase of 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.
        - Increasing the bus fleet with new vehicles will ensure that
          existing transit riders continue to use public transit and more
          people will 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;
    - the St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Project;
    - improved accessibility at subway stations; and
    - 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 his or her 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.

    Toronto Transit Commission facts

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

    Orion VII low-floor hybrid bus facts

    The TTC hybrid electric fleet is the first in Canada and the second
largest in North America, next to that in New York City. By the end of
September 2009, 694 new low-floor diesel hybrid accessible buses will be in
service at the TTC. CSIF will fund 324 hybrid buses.
    Diesel hybrid bus delivery began in 2006 with 150 buses. To date, 270 have
been delivered and by year end the fleet will have a total of 564 hybrid
buses. The buses are being put into service across the city as they are
received and commissioned. The current cost of a low-floor diesel hybrid
accessible bus is $734,000, including all taxes.
    The hybrid system uses an electric propulsion motor to slow the bus down
during the regenerative braking process, capturing the energy and returning it
to the battery system mounted on the roof of the bus. The captured electrical
energy is then used to assist in powering the bus, using its electric
propulsion motor, further adding to the vehicle's efficient use of the small
diesel generator on board the bus.

    - Seats: 38 (or 32 plus 2 wheelchair positions)
    - Length: 40 feet
    - Width: 102 inches
    - Height: 11 feet (to top of roof-mounted battery compartment)
    - Weight: 33,000 lbs.
    - Engine: 6-cylinder, 5.9 litre Cummins ISB Clean Diesel (260 HP)

    Environmental benefits of hybrid bus technology

    - 37 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions
    - 30-50 per cent less harmful particulates
    - 30-50 per cent less nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions
    - 40 tons less carbon dioxide (CO2) per bus each year
    - Lower noise level (3-5 reduction in decibel level)
    - 20-30 per cent less fuel consumption
    - smoother and quieter acceleration

                     Visit our website at www.toronto.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Chisholm Pothier, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister responsible for the
Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, (613) 996-9611; Media Relations: Communications,
Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Nicole Lippa-Gasparro, Press
Secretary, Office of the Ontario Minister of Transportation, Toronto, (416)
327-1815; Stuart Green, Deputy Director of Communications, Office of the
Mayor, City of Toronto, (416) 338-7119; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch,
Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Toronto, (416) 327-1158; Danny Nicholson,
Media Relations, Toronto Transit Commission, (416) 420-0776


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