2014 Mandate letter: Transportation
Premier’s instructions to the Minister on priorities for the year 2014
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September 25, 2014
The Honourable Steven Del Duca
Minister of Transportation
Ministry of Transportation
77 Wellesley Street West
Third Floor, Ferguson Block
Dear Minister Del Duca:
I am honoured to welcome you to your role as Minister of Transportation. We have a strong Cabinet in place, and I am confident that together we will build Ontario up, create new opportunities and champion a secure future for people across our province. The people of Ontario have entrusted their government to be a force for good, and we will reward that trust by working every day in the best interests of every person in this province.
As we implement a balanced and comprehensive plan for Ontario, we will lead from the activist centre. We will place emphasis on partnerships with businesses, communities and people to help foster continued economic growth and make a positive impact on the lives of every Ontarian. This collaborative approach will shape all the work we do. It will ensure we engage people on the issues that matter the most to them, and that we implement meaningful solutions to our shared challenges.
Our government’s most recent Speech from the Throne outlined a number of key priorities that will guide your work as minister. Growing the economy and helping to create good jobs are fundamental to building more opportunity and security, now and in the future. That critical priority is supported by strategic investments in the talent and skills of our people, from childhood to retirement. It is supported through the building of modern infrastructure, transit and a seamless transportation network. It is supported by a dynamic business climate that thrives on innovation, creativity and partnerships to foster greater prosperity. And it is reflected across all of our government, in every area, and will extensively inform our programs and policies.
As we move forward with our plan to grow the economy and create jobs, we will do so through the lens of fiscal prudence. Our 2014 Budget reinforces our commitment to balancing the budget by 2017-18; it is essential that every area adheres to the program-spending objectives established in it. We will choose to invest wisely in initiatives that strengthen Ontario’s competitive advantage, create jobs and provide vital public services to our families. The President of the Treasury Board, collaborating with the Minister of Finance, will work closely with you and your fellow Cabinet members to ensure that our government meets its fiscal targets. The President of the Treasury Board will also lead the government’s efforts on accountability, openness and modernization as we implement new accountability measures across government.
As Minister of Transportation, you will continue to build better transit and transportation infrastructure across the province. You will support Moving Ontario Forward, our 10-year transit and transportation strategy, which will build better public transit in congested cities and better roads to connect towns and rural and remote communities. Your goal is to make transit and transportation investments that promote economic productivity, enhance quality of life and improve the natural environment — including reducing greenhouse gases.
Your ministry’s specific priorities include:
Building the Next Generation of Transit and Transportation Infrastructure
- Collaborating with partner ministers, municipalities, local governments, transit agencies, citizens and experts to build a seamless, provincewide transportation network.
- Working with the Minister of Finance, the President of the Treasury Board and partner ministers to support Moving Ontario Forward. This strategy will invest $29 billion in transit and transportation and other critical infrastructure through two new dedicated funds. The funds provide up to $15 billion toward transit projects in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) — and nearly $14 billion toward projects elsewhere in Ontario.
- Bringing forward a proposal to implement high-occupancy toll lanes to supplement the dedicated funds allocated in Moving Ontario Forward.
- Building critical transit expansion projects currently underway in the GTHA, including the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit line and the Union-Pearson Express.
- Working to transform existing GO commuter rail into a Regional Express Rail rapid transit system over the next 10 years, with the support of Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario. The system will provide 15-minute, two-way electrified service and is the cornerstone of our government’s transit plan. Your goal is to manage congestion and move people throughout the GTHA.
- Working with Metrolinx to prioritize other rapid transit projects contained in The Big Move, the regional transit plan for the GTHA, for investment consideration under Moving Ontario Forward.
- Developing customer-focused solutions to integrate fare and service. Your goal is to create a seamless and transparent fare system across the GTHA.
- Leading the review of the Metrolinx Act, as set out in the act itself.
- Supporting other priority transportation initiatives outside the GTHA through dedicated funding under Moving Ontario Forward, such as local and regional transit, roads, and bridges and strategic highway improvements.
- Continuing to support transit initiatives outside the GTHA, through investments such as the existing provincial gas tax program, the Ottawa and Waterloo rapid transit projects and other programs that further mobility in communities across the province.
- Advancing environmental assessments for high-speed rail — building on the GTHA’s forthcoming Regional Express Rail network — which will link Toronto, Lester B. Pearson International Airport, and Waterloo Region and London, as well as London and Windsor.
- Engaging with other provinces and the federal government to support Ontario’s transit strategy.
- Investing $2.5 billion in highway rehabilitation and expansion projects across the province in 2014-15. I ask that you continue to make progress on Highway 407 East Phase One and the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway, and on key projects — including Highway 407 East Phase 2 and the widening of Highway 69 between Parry Sound and Sudbury.
- Proceeding with several planned projects such as a new four-lane alignment on Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph and extending Highway 427 from Highway 7 to Major Mackenzie Drive in York Region.
- Ensuring that provincially supported transportation infrastructure projects are clearly identified with appropriate signage.
Developing a Transportation Policy Framework
- Examining the optimal use of transportation modes across the province. You will develop recommendations on modernizing and appropriately regulating the intercity bus regime to ensure it remains an attractive and affordable travel option for Ontarians.
- Working with the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to consider the merits of supporting short-line rail operations in the province.
- Ensuring that transportation planning aligns with the co-ordinated review of the Growth Plan and other provincial plans by working closely with Metrolinx and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
- Continuing to work with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines to implement the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario — including the development of the Northern Ontario Multimodal Transportation Strategy.
Strengthening Road Safety
- Maintaining Ontario’s safe roads by continuing to address areas of concern, such as pedestrian, cycling and truck safety, driver distraction and impaired driving. You will work to reduce the emerging trend of drug-impaired driving and apply a broader range of collection tools for unpaid fines. Your goal is to preserve Ontario’s ranking as one of the lowest fatality rate jurisdictions in North America.
- Continuing to implement the province’s first-ever cycling strategy, #CycleON. This strategy will provide a $25-million cycling infrastructure investment, including $15 million for provincial infrastructure and $10 million for municipal infrastructure.
- Continuing to work with ministers and stakeholders to implement towing industry and business reforms. Your goal is to enhance road safety, protect consumers and support the government’s auto insurance cost and rate reduction strategy.
- Establishing a regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles and, working with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, stretcher transport services.
We have an ambitious agenda for the next four years. I know that, by working together in partnership, we can be successful. The above list of priority initiatives is not meant to be exhaustive, as there are many other responsibilities that you and your ministry will need to carry out. To that end, this mandate letter is to be used by your ministry to develop more detailed plans for implementation of the initiatives above, in addition to other initiatives not highlighted in this letter.
I ask that you continue to build on the strong relationships we have with the Ontario Public Service, the broader public sector, other levels of government, and the private, non-profit and voluntary sectors. We want to be the most open and transparent government in the country. We want to be a government that works for the people of this province — and with them. It is of the utmost importance that we lead responsibly, act with integrity, manage spending wisely and are accountable for every action we take.
I look forward to working together with you in building opportunity today, and securing the future for all Ontarians.