March 6, 2007
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York to benefit from $962 million federal commitment to transportation infrastructure

Announcement by Prime Minister to see expansion of subway and Viva Rapid Transit
 
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York welcomes today’s announcement by Prime Minster Stephen Harper that the federal government will contribute $962 million to multiple transportation and transit initiatives across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as part of a $4.5 billion investment partnership with the Government of Ontario and GTA municipalities.
 
Included in the funding announcement is a federal government commitment to expand the Spadina subway into York Region to the City of Vaughan Corporate Centre, a federal government commitment to help fund Viva Rapid Transit Phase 2, Stage 1, and a provincial government commitment to expand Highway 404.
 
“I’m extremely encouraged by today’s transit funding announcement for York Region and our Greater Toronto Area neighbours,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “This federal commitment to the expansion of Viva and the Spadina Subway through our communities will have a positive and lasting effect on transportation for years to come.”
 
Among the funding announcements include:
 
• $697 million from the Government of Canada to expand the existing Spadina subway line by 8.6 kilometres through York University into York Region to the Vaughan Corporate Centre
 
• $85 million from the Government of Canada to help fund Viva Rapid Transit Phase 2, Stage 1
 
• $250 million from the Government of Ontario to extend Highway 404 from Green Lane to Ravenshoe Road through the Towns of East Gwillimbury and Georgina
 
The federal funding announcement for the expansion of the Spadina subway follows an announcement last year by the Government of Ontario to commit $670 million to the project and an agreement by York Region and the City of Toronto to fund the remaining one-third of the project via a 40/60 split, respectively.
 
Federal funding for Viva Rapid Transit Phase 2, Stage 1 is contingent upon the Government of Ontario providing matching funds of $85 million.  York Regional Council has previously committed a one-third share of these funds.
 
The funds for Viva Rapid Transit Phase 2, Stage 1 will assist in the construction of dedicated bus rapid transit systems along Yonge Street from Steeles Avenue to Richmond Hill Centre, and along Highway 7 from Markham Centre to Yonge Street.  They also include the construction of an operation/maintenance facility and a new Viva terminal at Cornell Centre.

Accompanying today’s federal government announcement is a commitment by the Government of Ontario of $250 million for the expansion of Highway 404 from Green Lane to Ravenshoe Road, through the Towns of East Gwillimbury and Georgina.  Construction will be completed as early as 2012.
 
In an effort to address long-term transportation needs, York Regional Council allocated funds in 2001 for the formation of York Region Transit (YRT).  This Region-wide network of conventional transit buses and transit for special-needs passengers was formed following the amalgamation of five conventional and seven specialized transit systems operated by the local municipalities. 
 
In 2005, York Regional Council, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario committed more than $150 million toward the first phase of the Viva Rapid Transit network.  Viva currently operates in four key corridors along Yonge Street and Highway 7, with connecting service to the Don Mills, Downsview and Finch subway stations in the City of Toronto.
 
Since the formation of YRT, transit ridership has increased by more than 10 per cent in each year of its operation.  Together with Viva Rapid Transit, York Region now carries more than 17 million riders each year, with an average weekday ridership of 69,000 passengers.
 
York Region has been actively seeking funding from both the federal and provincial governments to enhance our existing rapid transit network.  Dedicated bus-only lanes will facilitate a “true” rapid transit network that is free of the hindrances of mixed-traffic transit.
 
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Media Contact: Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, Ext. 1232 or Cell (905) 251-6419
 Email: michael.kemp@york.ca

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