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Transit boost

DRT receives multi-million funding influx from feds and province

Whitby MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, joined by Durham MPP Granville Anderson, announces $172 million in federal and provincial funding for the Region of Durham over the next decade. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The Region of Durham is set to receive $172 million from the federal and provincial governments over the next decade for transit infrastructure projects.

The funding is part of the federal government’s 12-year, $180 billion Investing in Canada plan.

As of part of the plan, the feds have signed a bilateral agreement with the province and municipalities to invest $33 billion into infrastructure projects over the next decade.

For transit-related projects, Durham will receive $94 million in federal funding and $78 million from Ontario. The region itself will chip in an additional $60 million.

Ajax Regional Councillor Shaun Collier, representing regional chair and CEO Roger Anderson, called the investment a critical one for regional transit services.

“Reliable, allocation-based funding allows municipalities to plan and grow our transit systems for the future and means we are not competing within our local municipalities for limited dollars,” Collier says.

The monies will be used to expand the Highway 2 PULSE line between Oshawa and Scarborough, develop a north/south bus rapid transit (BRT) system on Simcoe Street and the construction of a new central DRT facility, among other projects.

Oshawa Mayor John Henry says the creation of the BRT system on Simcoe Street is welcomed news for the city.

“When you talk about the movement of people, we move 840,000 people through the system on Simcoe Street [a year]. Moving people effectively gets cars off the road,” Henry says.

For Henry, the funding will allow the region to ready its transit services for the considerable population growth expected over the next decade.
“If you build houses and don’t supply transit, people will find alternate means of transportation. But if you build a transit system while you are building new developments they work together and people will use buses,” he says.