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Work begins on the GO Transit Stouffville line

STOUFFVILLE, ON, May 25 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and GO Transit today announced the start of construction on GO Transit’s Stouffville train line.

The expansion is part of the GO Transit Rail Improvement Program (GO TRIP), a billion-dollar expansion funded by the governments of Canada, Ontario, and the municipalities through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund. The work will allow GO Transit to increase service to passengers and accommodate future passenger growth.

“Public transit plays an important role in easing traffic congestion in urban areas, reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions, and enhancing the quality of life in our communities,” said Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

“The Ontario government wants to increase public transit ridership by investing in projects that encourage commuters to choose transit,” said Phil McNeely, Parliamentary Assistant to Ontario Transportation Minister, Donna Cansfield. “Expanding and improving the GO Transit network will reduce travel times, and increase reliability, safety and accessibility for Ontario families that commute.”

“GO Transit appreciates this investment for tomorrow by all levels of government,” said GO Transit Chairman Peter Smith. “This long-term funding is essential to improving public transportation for the Toronto area - the urban and economic heart of Ontario, and Canada.”

Construction on GO Transit’s Stouffville line will begin immediately with an underpass being built to separate the two intersecting rail lines that are located in Markham, between the Milliken and Unionville GO Stations. This construction will eliminate the intersection of GO Transit’s Stouffville corridor that crosses a major east-west freight line owned and operated by Canadian National Railway. This work is essential for future GO service improvements, such as improving overall travel time, reducing operational costs, and paving the way for more trains. It will also improve service reliability.

Valued at approximately $47 million, this project should be completed by the end of 2007.

GO Transit carries 47 million riders annually. Ridership is expected to double within the next 20 to 30 years. A safe and efficient transit system is key to building strong and prosperous communities in Ontario.

For more information and/or updates on this project, call (416) 869-3600 ext. 5180.

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.

Backgrounder

In May 2004, a funding agreement for GO Transit expansion was finalized between the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and GO Transit. Through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), the federal and provincial governments agreed to pay up to $385 million each in support of major GO Transit rail infrastructure improvements over the next seven years. Greater Toronto Area municipalities are also expected to fund part of this project.

The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund supports large-scale projects of major national and regional significance. The Government of Canada’s 2006 Federal Budget committed $16.5 billion over the next four years for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure to improve Canada’s infrastructure, including an additional $2 billion for the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

Federal investments including $5 billion over five years in gas tax funding across Canada and full GST rebates to communities and the creation of the $900 million Public Transit Capital Trust will complement the funding. Budget 2006 also committed an additional $2.2 billion for the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, in addition to the $1 billion previously provided, and announced funding for a new $2.4 billion Highway and Border Infrastructure Fund that will progressively replace the $600 million Border Infrastructure Fund.

Under Move Ontario, announced in the 2006 Ontario Budget, the Ontario government is investing $1.2 billion in public transit and municipal roads and bridges to help move people and goods faster, create jobs and build a stronger economy. Other initiatives to improve transit and ease congestion include:

  • Investing $838 million this year to expand and modernize public transit in the Greater Toronto Area;

  • Introducing legislation to create a Greater Toronto Transportation Authority to take an inter-regional approach to creating seamless and integrated transit and transportation; and

  • Providing new streetcars, buses and routes by delivering $1 billion in provincial gas tax revenues for transit across Ontario.

The government of Ontario’s Move Ontario commitments are in addition to ReNew Ontario, a five-year, $30 billion investment in Ontario’s public infrastructure. ReNew Ontario includes investments of $11.4 billion for public transit, highways, borders and other transportation infrastructure.

Program Details and Status

GO Transit carries over 160,000 passengers an average of 32 kilometres every day on its rail system. During rush hour, almost every seat on all GO trains is filled. The new expansion will enable GO to accommodate the more than 40,000 additional passengers forecast to use the system during peak periods by 2011.

The GO Transit Rail Improvement Program (TRIP) includes 14 GO rail projects across the system and an expansion of the GO Bus network. Work on these projects is underway, with completion expected in 2010. Below is an update for each project:

  • On the Stouffville corridor, environmental approval has been received for the Hagerman rail-to-rail grade separation. Construction begins in May 2006. This GO train rail underpass will allow GO Transit to avoid delays caused by conflicts with freight trains. Anticipated completion of this project is September 2007.

  • There are two projects underway on the Lakeshore West corridor to add a third track in two sections to allow more GO train service and reduce delays:

    • Port Credit Station (Mississauga) to Kerr Street (Oakville) - An environmental assessment is in the 45-day public review period.
    • Burlington Station to Bayview Junction (Hamilton) - Construction is underway for the extension of the third track. Extended service to GO Aldershot Station is expected for Spring 2007.
  • Environmental approval on the Milton corridor has been received for a new train storage site that will accommodate longer 12-car trains near Milton Station. Construction is now underway. This will allow trains to be stored closer to where they start and finish to minimize delays and reduce unnecessary train trips. Construction at the Milton corridor stations to accommodate the longer trains is also underway. Twelve-car trains will increase the carrying capacity by over 20 per cent.

  • Environmental approval has been received on the Georgetown/Weston corridor West Toronto Diamond rail-to-rail grade separation. This is a rail underpass that will allow GO trains to avoid delays and conflicts with freight trains. Detailed design work is underway.

  • An individual environmental assessment study is underway on the Georgetown/Weston corridor to identify improvements required to accommodate increased GO train frequency and options for an express transportation link between Union Station and Pearson International Airport, including the proposed Air Rail Link project. This study will address environmental requirements and the need for improved infrastructure for GO Transit service.

  • On the Georgetown North corridor, an environmental assessment is in the 45-day public review period. Construction is scheduled to start late in 2006. Upon completion, two new rush hour trains and limited off-peak service will be extended to Mount Pleasant GO Station in north Brampton.

  • Environmental approval was received on the Bradford corridor for the Snider rail-to-rail grade separation at the CN York subdivision freight line. Construction commenced in February 2006. This GO train rail overpass will allow GO Transit to avoid delays caused by conflicts with freight trains. Anticipated completion for this project is November 2006.

  • Also on the Bradford corridor, pending environmental approval, GO train service will be extended to the city of Barrie. The project will upgrade rail corridor requirements, build a new station, and build a new train layover facility.

  • The addition of a third track on the Lakeshore East corridor and improvements to accommodate three-track operation at the Danforth, Scarborough and Eglinton stations are under construction. Completion of this project is anticipated for mid-2007.

  • Pre-qualifications for the Union Station Rail Corridor Program to select signal designers and installers to assist in the Signal Replacement Project are complete. The signals design tender is currently in the industry review phase. This work includes a complete replacement of the 70-year-old track signal system at Union Station over the next five to eight years. The Don Yard has also been purchased by GO Transit and is being reconstructed for GO Transit’s daytime train storage needs.

  • The feasibility of providing infrastructure to support new and additional GO bus service extensions to support Peterborough, Cambridge, Niagara Falls and Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo is being studied by the Province of Ontario and GO Transit. Results are expected in 2007.

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, (613) 991-0700; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, (416) 327-1158; Vasie Papadopoulos, GO TRIP, (416) 869-3600 ext. 5175; Neil Salter, Office of the Parliamentary Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Transportation, (416) 325-0515; Linda Licari, Transport Canada, (613) 993-0055




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