Ten years to complete the Big 5 transit projects
Metrolinx, a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario, Canada, announced May 19, 2010, its board of directors has approved a revised plan that will see all of the Big 5 transit projects completed over a 10-year period. The board will present its revised project plan to the Government of Ontario for final approval.
“We have put forth an aggressive, bold but doable plan to deliver the five projects in 10 years” said Robert Prichard, President and CEO of Metrolinx. “Our plan means that within a month projects worth $7 billion of the $9.5 billion will be underway. This is the largest public transit investment in Canadian history and we need to get going now.”
In April 2009, the Province of Ontario announced $9.5 billion for the Big 5 projects, which include York Region’s VIVA Next Bus Rapid Transit, the Sheppard Light Rail Transit (LRT) line, the refurbishment of the Scarborough Rapid Transit a Finch LRT and the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
The 2010 Ontario budget committed to fully funding all five projects including escalation costs but asked that Metrolinx develop a plan to reduce the funding requirements for these projects in the first five years by $4 billion. The 5 in 10 plan achieves this goal – building the five projects by 2020 while saving $4 billion in the first five years.
“As one of the fastest growing regions in the country, it was important for us to work in partnership with Metrolinx to improve transit options,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “I believe we have arrived at a realistic plan that gets these projects underway now while giving consideration to the needs of commuters and the overall transit network people rely on.”
“It is time to move forward,” said Prichard. “We need to get moving to ensure that the region reaps the economic, social and environmental benefits of these unprecedented investments in public transit.”