January 9, 2004

York Region to lead implementation of GTA Smart Commute Initiative


NEWMARKET – York Region’s Transportation and Works Committee has recommended that the Regional Municipality of York lead the implementation of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Smart Commute Initiative.  The recommendation will be subject to Regional Council approval on January 22, 2004.


The GTA Smart Commute Initiative calls for the formation of a “Greater Toronto Area Travel Demand Management Program” to provide sustainable transportation alternatives such as transit, carpooling and other programs to reduce single occupant vehicle trips across the GTA.  It includes the formation of two new Transportation Management Associations in York Region to help in its implementation.


“This initiative is an absolute necessity to help combat traffic congestion on York Region’s roads,” said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “I hope that our efforts will demonstrate to other municipalities that action is needed now to maintain the viability of our transportation networks.”


To fund the initiative, York Region and the City of Toronto made a joint submission to the Federal Urban Transportation Showcase Program (UTSP) in October 2001.  


The UTSP – part of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change – calls for the creation of community showcase programs to demonstrate and evaluate ways to reduce green house gas emissions from transportation.  Candidates selected for the showcase are eligible for up to $10 million in federal funding.


On October 26, 2003, former Transportation Minister David Collenette announced that the Federal Government would provide one third of eligible costs for the GTA Smart Commute Initiative, to a maximum of $2.5 million.


“Engaging senior levels of government is imperative to ensure long-term transportation solutions,” said Richmond Hill Mayor Bill Bell, Chair of York Region’s Transportation and Works Committee.  “I’m very pleased that the Federal Government has highlighted traffic congestion as a priority.”


York Region has committed $120,000 in 2004 and $230,000 in each of 2005 and 2006 to begin implementation of the initiative, in cooperation with the City of Toronto, the Town of Markham, the City of Vaughan, the Town of Richmond Hill, the City of Mississauga, the City of Brampton, the City of Hamilton and the Regions of Peel, Halton and Durham.


It is anticipated that York Region will receive and administer the funds until a Smart Commute Association can be formed to oversee the initiative, and a Memorandum of Understanding is struck between York and its partners.


The UTSP will finalize a funding agreement by the end of March 2004.


For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca.




Contact:           Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region

- (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1232

                        - Email: michael.kemp@region.york.on.ca

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