Bus Rapid Transit Paves the Way for Improved Access to York University
TORONTO - Increased transit access to York University became a reality today with the groundbreaking ceremony for a bus rapid transit route that will operate between Downsview subway station and the University.
The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; the Honourable Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister of Transportation; His Worship David Miller, Mayor of Toronto; and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Chair, Councillor Adam Giambrone attended this ceremony.
"York University has become a centre of unparalleled growth and activity, resulting in traffic congestion that is getting progressively worse," said Minister Flaherty. "While we all know designing and building the Spadina subway extension will take time, the additional six kilometers of dedicated bus lanes are an interim solution that's both practical and efficient."
"Rapid transit infrastructure for commuters, residents and students in the Greater Toronto Area is a priority for the Government of Canada," said Minister Cannon. "On behalf of our government, I am pleased to be breaking ground and paving the way for improved access to York University."
"Greater economic prosperity, cleaner air and smart growth for our province have been championed here today," said Minister Smitherman. "As we continue to work with our federal and municipal partners on vital infrastructure projects, we will promote an integrated system that envisions the kind of growth and environmental stewardship that sustains our unique quality of life and economic success."
"Starting next summer, this dedicated bus line will zip students and staff from Downsview to York much more quickly. This is one of many transit improvements in Toronto and around the province that the McGuinty government is helping to get moving," said Minister Bradley.
"Today we celebrate the progress that can be made when all orders of government work together toward a common goal: to reduce greenhouse gases, stimulate urban development and economic activity, and to enhance our public transit network," said Mayor David Miller. "This dedicated busway will provide reliable bus service to students and other transit riders where it is needed. I am pleased to be working with our federal and provincial partners to bring faster and cleaner transportation options to Torontonians."
"TTC service will continue to improve with the partnership of the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, and the City of Toronto allowing us to expand our network with this dedicated busway," said Councillor Giambrone. "Riders, and in particular students of York University who have been frustrated with crowded, irregular service to campus, will see a real improvement in the reliability of the service they count on between Downsview Station and York University."
The BRT route is part of a two-phase project to improve access to York University. The first phase, known as the York University Busway, will provide six kilometers of dedicated bus-only lanes from Downsview subway station to the heart of York University. The second phase is the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension to Vaughan Corporate Centre. Construction has now begun on phase one and the busway project will be completed in time for the 2009-2010 school year.
The federal contribution of $9.7 million to the City of Toronto for the bus rapid transit project comes from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), which supports large-scale strategic infrastructure projects that improve quality of life and further economic growth. It is part of an overall commitment of $350 million to the TTC and the City of Toronto for improvements to subways and subway infrastructure; streetcar infrastructure and dedicated streetcar lanes; buses and bus infrastructure; and the PRESTO farecard system for the GTA.
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 $18.4 million. Provincial funding for the project was provided in the 2007 Budget, through a one-time payout of the province's commitments under the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund agreement. In total, the TTC has allocated $9.7 million in provincial funding for this project. Since 2003, Ontario has committed more than $2.7 billion to help the City of Toronto improve and expand transit, including provincial gas tax funding of close to $524 million.