McGuinty Government Action Plan For Rapid Transit Will Move The Economy Forward
MoveOntario 2020 is a 12-Year Building Plan That Will Deliver 52 Rapid Transit Initiatives In The GTA And Hamilton
The Ontario government is launching a multi-year $17.5 billion rapid transit action plan for the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton that will deliver jobs and investment by reducing congestion, Premier McGuinty announced today.
"Tackling gridlock is one of the most important things we can do to build a strong and prosperous economy," said McGuinty. "Building a modern rapid transit system that moves people and goods quickly and efficiently will ensure we can attract and keep thousands of good high-paying jobs."
MoveOntario 2020 will build 902 kilometres of new or improved rapid transit, starting in 2008.
It will create 175,000 jobs during construction and deliver 52 rapid transit projects. These include:
- The extension of the Yonge St. subway line to Highway 7
- Increasing speed and reducing emissions by electrifying the GO Lakeshore line and expanding capacity on all GO lines
- Expanded express bus service across Highway 407
- Two rapid transit lines across Hamilton, and
- Toronto's Transit City vision for light rail across the city.
The government will work with the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA) to implement the plan. The GTTA will report back to the Province in early 2008 on a detailed plan for moving forward.
"The time to make this sort of ambitious but realistic investment is now. Our economy demands it," McGuinty said. "What's more, our families deserve it, because gridlock not only saps strength out of our economy, it steals time from our families."
To cite one example, with electrification of the GO Lakeshore line, a commuter will get from Toronto to Hamilton 15 minutes faster.
"That's an extra half hour a day. And that can make the difference between missing your daughter's first goal at soccer -- or seeing it," McGuinty said.
"Finally, this project will remove 300 million car trips off our roads. And that's good news for the air we breathe -- and the fight against climate change we're waging together."
Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield said the projects will be built over 12 years and financed over 50 years.
"Transforming our system will not happen overnight, but it must be done," Cansfield said. "We need to develop a sustainable transportation system which gets people out of their cars and onto transit to reduce congestion and improve our environment."
The Province is calling on the federal government to cover at least a third of the cost. The Province will cover the rest of the capital costs and continue to share operating costs with municipalities through the existing provincial gas tax program.
"Today's announcement is historic in proportion. It affords the GTTA an immense opportunity to positively influence the day-to-day lives of people in Greater Toronto and Hamilton," said Robert MacIsaac, Chair of the GTTA. "It will surely be viewed as a key turning point in our region's history towards a sustainable transportation system."
The GTA is one of the fastest growing regions in North America, increasing its population by approximately 100,000 people -- and 50,000 cars -- every year. Commuting in the GTA currently takes 32 per cent longer than it would in free-flowing conditions. The economic cost of congestion in the GTA is around $2.2 billion per year. By 2031, this will rise to nearly $4.1 billion if action is not taken now.
The plan calls for 66 per cent of the projects to be completed by 2015, and 95 per cent to be completed by 2020. It will result in 800 million new transit trips per year, taking 300 million car trips off GTA roads. By 2020, this will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the region by 10 megatonnes.