May 17, 2004

Agreement commits $1 billion to expand GO Transit system

A $1.05-billion agreement signed May 7 by the federal and Ontario governments and GO Transit will fund 12 construction projects designed to improve the GO Transit rail and bus transit system in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Under the terms of the agreement, Canada will provide $385 million and Ontario will contribute another $385 million, with municipal governments together providing $235 million.

The joint investment will improve the access, efficiency and capacity of Canada's first, and Ontario's only, interregional public transit system, established to link Toronto with the surrounding regions of the GTA. The additional services and improved systems will not only reduce traffic congestion and travel time, increase reliability, safety and accessibility for commuters, they will lead to a long-term environmental benefit through reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is projected that approximately three tonnes per passenger per year of GHG emissions will be eliminated over 30 years.

"This agreement underlines our commitment to delivering a stronger, safer and more prosperous Ontario," said David Caplan, Ontario Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal. "By investing in public transit we will reduce gridlock, improve our environment, and preserve the quality of life for the people of southern Ontario."

The GO Transit system serves a population of five million people over an 8,000-square-kilometre area extending from Hamilton and Guelph in the west, north to Barrie and east to Newcastle. The system currently carries more than 44 million passengers per year and reached capacity several years ago. Approximately 60,000 passengers commute every morning on its rail system. The new infrastructure will enable GO to accommodate the 78,000 passengers forecast to use the system during peak periods by 2011.

Plans call for the GO Transit expansion program to be implemented over seven years, beginning in 2004 and ending in 2010. Work in 2004 will primarily involve completion of environmental assessments and designs.

The 12 projects in the GO Transit expansion program will be carried out in six of its seven rail corridors and will include an expansion of the GO bus system. Among other improvements, the network will be extended to serve Peterborough, Cambridge, Niagara Falls and Guelph-Kitchener-Waterloo.

In March, the federal government announced its intention to support the GO Transit expansion through a contribution from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF). The CSIF enables Ottawa to work with provinces, territories and municipal governments, as well as the private sector, to meet strategic infrastructure needs throughout the country. The Fund supports large-scale strategic infrastructure projects that improve quality of life and further sustainable growth.

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