Comment 103249

By JayRobb (registered) | Posted July 16, 2014 at 11:27:35

My hope is that the July 25th introductory meeting is light on lobbying and heavy on listening to, and learning from, the Ministers.

How will the Province be prioritizing projects and deciding when and where to invest $29 billion over the next 10 years in public transit, transportation infrastructure and other priority infrastructure projects across Ontario?

It would be good to get details on the "rigorous business-case analyses" to be used by the Province in prioritizing transit investments in the GTHA. How well will the Rapid Ready report stand up to that analysis?

Beyond investing in the existing GO network, the Province has identified a number of big ticket priority projects, including:

GO Rail Service Expansion (more two-way, all-day and rush-hour service)

GO Lakeshore Express Rail Service (including electrification)

Electrification of the GO Kitchener line and Union Pearson Express

Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit

Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit

Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit

Hamilton Rapid Transit

Hurontario-Main LRT linking Mississauga and Brampton

Relief Line

Yonge North Subway expansion to York Region

The Province has already dropped some hints, saying that proceeds from the dedicated fund for the GTHA would be "invested exclusively in public transit priorities that address congestion and improve mobility throughout the region."

It would also be good to use the meeting with the Ministers to talk about the Province's GO Transit plans for Hamilton.

The new GO station at James North, and a potential Centennial GO station in Stoney Creek, align with the government's priority of expanded two-way, all-day GO Transit rail service, with improvements on all corridors and the potential to electrify the GO rail system to deliver service at intervals as frequent as 15 minutes.

Have to think the GO station on James North will be a major catalyst for economic development downtown (bring on the young professionals who are working in Toronto but paying property taxes here and enrolling their kids in Hamilton schools).

And a GO station in Stoney Creek could help densify the 'burbs and ease north-south congestion by giving Mountain residents the option of commuting by rail to downtown Hamilton, with transit from the James North station then running to the Hamilton General, St. Joe's, McMaster, the federal government buildings and other major employers in the lower city. This would have the added bonus of increasing transit ridership in Hamilton, which was identified as a key component of a strategy to get Rapid Ready.

So whoever's in the room July 25, I hope they spend less time talking and more time asking good questions, listening and taking notes.

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