August 23, 2006

Viva Rapid Transit receives the Peter J. Marshall Municipal Innovation Award


AMO recognizes the Regional Municipality of York for managing growth with efficiency


NEWMARKET – Viva Rapid Transit has received the Peter J. Marshall Municipal Innovation Award from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) for combining sound planning with new technology to manage future growth and promote better traffic flow.


The award was accepted by York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch, who is also President of the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, at the 2006 Annual AMO Conference in Ottawa on August 15th.


“One of our greatest challenges in York Region is congestion and Viva Rapid Transit already is making a huge difference that will be sustainable for years to come,” said Chair Fisch.  “Viva is making it possible for people to leave their cars at home, which also creates a positive impact on the air we breathe.”


The Peter J. Marshall Municipal Innovation Award recognizes municipal governments that demonstrate excellence in the use of innovative approaches to improve capital and/or operating efficiency, and to generate effectiveness through alternative service delivery initiatives and partnerships.


“The vision for Viva Rapid Transit includes more than just shorter commutes to work,” said Town of Richmond Hill Mayor Bill Bell, Vice Chair of the Region’s Rapid Transit Committee.  “One of Viva’s primary goals is to become the infrastructure backbone supporting the development of transit villages where people can live and work without always using their vehicle.”


According to AMO, York Region’s Viva Rapid Transit is a model for the management of growing commuter needs, efficient implementation and better environmental protection.


Viva links the Region’s urban centres of Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora and Newmarket.  In addition, Viva links York Region with the City of Toronto and its subway system, GO Transit, the Region of Peel and eventually with Durham Region.


Viva is the first public-private partnership of its kind in Canada for a major transportation infrastructure program.  York Region partnered with York Consortium, an association of seven private sector firms that bring extensive international experience in transit design, architecture, construction and operations.


Viva is in its first of three phases in a 20-year transit expansion plan.  The first phase was implemented quickly and efficiently, going from vision to reality in three years.  The project delivery method was on time and on budget.  Within four months in early 2005, total transit boardings along the Yonge Street corridor were running 34 per cent ahead of the previous year.  Ridership on both Viva and York Region Transit (YRT) continues to increase steadily and is up 10 per cent in 2006 alone.


In Phase 2, the Region will build dedicated transit lanes separating the Viva vehicles from mixed traffic.  If funding is secured and the environmental assessments approved, construction could begin as early as 2007.


Named in honour of one of Ontario’s youngest and most innovative municipal finance commissioners, the Peter J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process, with submissions by Ontario municipalities that are judged on their creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public.


The Innovation Award’s objective is to showcase instances where Ontario municipalities can point to tangible outcomes from new, more cost effective ways of providing public services and facilities.  By awarding and profiling innovation, AMO continues to advance creativity and strong municipal government.


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Media Contact:         Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region

                                 Phone:  (905) 830-4444 Ext. 1238, (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675

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