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Press Releases 2006


October 4, 2006

For Immediate Release


Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees calls on the federal government to renew its commitment to VIVA


Asks Federal Finance Minister to fund Phase 2 of York Region Rapid Transit plan

(Queen's Park) Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees today announced he has formally asked the Government of Canada to renew its commitment to VIVA, York Region's Rapid Transit initiative, by funding Phase 2 of the project: a dedicated bus lane for Yonge Street and related infrastructure improvements.

In a letter addressed to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Klees lauded the federal government's recognition of the importance of urban transportation infrastructure, and urged the Minister to secure federal funding for Phase 2 of VIVA as part of its contribution to building a seamless, economically and socially viable transportation system for the entire GTA.

"The Minister and I worked very hard as members of the previous Ontario government to make Phase 1 of VIVA a reality, matched by $50 million in funding from the federal government. While our roles have changed, the merits of VIVA have not," said Klees.

"I have every confidence that Minister Flaherty understands the importance of renewing the federal government's commitment to the project, and in helping us achieve the benefits an enhanced York Rapid Transit system will bring in terms of eased congestion, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and better links to the TTC, Durham and Peel region public transit systems."

Mr. Klees also noted the Province of Ontario 's support for the extension of the Spadina subway to Vaughan , and invited the federal government to build upon its strategic investment in VIVA and other transit initiatives in the GTA by fully supporting the Spadina extension.

"The full support of the federal government is critical to both VIVA and the Spadina extension" said Klees. "Certainly a renewed commitment to VIVA is consistent with the federal government's planned support for bus rapid transit in Peel Region, while support for extending the subway northward is consistent with the overall transportation infrastructure agenda."

York Region is one of the fastest growing areas of Ontario . According to provincial estimates, the population is likely to grow by 42% to 1.4 million people by 2026. Currently, 20-million people ride the bus in York Region each year. With Phase Two of VIVA fully implemented, this is expected to increase to 60 million within 15 years. York Region's Rapid Transit Plan is designed to reduce travel times by 25 to 40 per cent during peak periods.

(Letter attached)


For further information

Frank Klees, MPP