New transit plan announced by Metrolinx

5 12 2008

Compiled by Kara Bertrand, with files from Laura Leslie, a reporter for @Humber
Published: October 7, 2008

It’s Ontario’s Big Move. Metrolinx agency, formerly the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA), has released a plan to ease the gridlock on Toronto roads. The Regional Transport Plan calls for $50 billion to be spent over the next 25 years to improve transit and roads from Hamilton to Oshawa and throughout York region.

The GTTA was approved in legislation under the McGuinty government in April 2006. In December 2007, its business name changed to Metrolinx because it “links people to places.”

“It’s a $50 billion plan over the next 25 years, it’s about $2 billion a year,” Leslie Woo, manager of transportation policy and planning at Metrolinx, told @Humber. “We are calling it the big move so it outlines a series of very significant changes and transformational projects that will make this region more accessible and sort of a cleaner, greener, more well connected region for all of the residents and businesses.”

TTC riders agree that a more connected transit system would be beneficial for the city.

“In Toronto especially, our transit system doesn’t reach the low-income, high population areas – Rexdale, Jane and Finch – which is where people need it the most,” said Savannah Spears, 29, a regular TTC user.

Woo said the draft Regional Transport Plan, which will be before the board this week for consideration, was released along with a draft Investment Strategy.

“It lays out how we would begin to work from the strong foundation that the province has set out in its investments announced last year for MoveOntario 2020 of $17.5 billion to get us started so we’re well on our way,” she said.

Controversy has sparked throughout mainstream media regarding funding for the plan – as taxes and tolls will not be used as financing. At this point, only speculation exists on how the plan will be financially supported.

The plan includes:

  • Rapid transit service from Hamilton to Oshawa via Union station
  • Rapid transit service from Union station to Richmond Hill and Brampton
  • Expansions to the subway system from on the Spadina line to Vaughn corporate centre
  • Expansions to the subway system from on the Yonge line to Richmond Hill
  • “There is a proposal within the next 25 years to have what we refer to as the ‘Queen Relief Line,’ connecting and parallel to the Bloor/Danforth line,” said Woo.

    Metrolinx also highlighted a combination of light rapid transit, bus rapid transit or auto-guided transit along Dundas St. in Halton, on Highway 2 to Scarborough from Oshawa town centre, “Highway 7 connecting the airport all the way connecting Vaughn, Richmond Hill and Markham and then connecting down to Scarborough and Pickering,” said Woo.

    “It’s a very inclusive approach and the plan outlines the very significant changes that we can see within the next 25 years whether it’s relative to the reduction of travel time and commute time, the increasing number of trips on public transit, the expansion of our bike and pedestrian network and the reduction of greenhouse gases,” said Woo.

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