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All three levels of government team up to invest in DRT

All three levels of government came together in Oshawa to announce a transit investment of $126.2 million, which will go towards 11 projects in Durham. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

All three levels of government are teaming up by investing $126.2 million in Durham Region Transit (DRT) projects.

Durham Regional Chair John Henry was joined by various Durham MPPs and MPs, including Durham MPP Lindsey Park, and Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna to announce funding for Durham Region Transit.

The funds will go towards 11 projects aiming to modernize public transit in Durham.

The projects include the replacement of 11 buses with new hybrid electric buses, as well as the addition of 13 conventional buses and mini buses to DRT’s fleet to replace aging vehicles.

There will also be two new articulated buses for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) fleet.

Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax will also see the construction of BRT lanes with active transportation corridors.

Residents will also receive more options as cycling lanes and multi-use paths will connect to the transit stations along the three BRT corridors.

Henry says this is a positive step towards the future of transit in Durham Region.

“This joint funding announcement today is another vital step taken in partnership towards modernizing and improving Durham Region Transit operations,” he says. “These projects will all have a tremendous benefit to DRT and the residents of Durham Region.”

He notes the funding will help the region to make energy retrofits to Durham’s social housing portfolio.

“It’s all part of our commitment to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, while realizing social and economic investments,” he says.

McKenna notes society needs to move forward despite the pandemic.

“We need to get people to work, we need to get kids to school,” she says.

She adds public transit is one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure all levels of government should be investing in.

“It’s really about how you get people around in cleaner ways, how you get people around in affordable ways,” she says. “Many people cannot afford any other options than public transit.”

The hope for these investments is to see more residents choosing public transit by providing a more accessible and reliable transit service in Durham.