Mandate letter progress: Transportation
The Minister’s response letter to Premier Wynne, outlining the results achieved on key mandate priorities in 2014-15.
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January 11, 2016
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Dear Premier Wynne:
I am pleased to provide a progress update on the delivery of the transportation and transit commitments outlined in my mandate letter.
Building the Next Generation of Transit and Transportation Infrastructure
- We continue to work closely with municipalities and local governments to build a seamless transportation network that will strengthen Ontario’s economy and build Ontario up.
- By broadening the ownership of Hydro One, we are investing a total of $31.5 billion under Moving Ontario Forward — an increase of $2.5 billion — for transit, transportation and other priority infrastructure projects across the province. We will invest $16.5 billion in the GTHA and $15 billion elsewhere in the province — all part of the more than $134 billion being invested in infrastructure over 10 years.
- Transformation of the GO Rail network into Regional Express Rail continues to be a priority, as we work to keep people and the region moving.
- As part of the new Climate Change Strategy, we are investing $20 million in the 2015–16 fiscal year from the Ontario Green Investment Fund to build more public charging stations for electric vehicles.
- We have also committed funding for the Hamilton and Hurontario LRTs, and have announced annual funding of $15 million for the Connecting Links program.
- We announced a pilot project for HOT lanes on the QEW, building on the success of the temporary HOV lanes during the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.
- As part of The Big Move, construction on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is progressing well, with over 52 per cent of tunnelling complete. As well, the UP Express was launched on June 6, 2015 — in time for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games as promised.
- The Request for Qualifications for the Finch West LRT has now closed and the contract to build the second phase of York VIVA BRT has been awarded.
- PRESTO is now at 26 TTC subway stations and work is underway to have PRESTO available on the entire TTC system by the end of 2016, moving us closer to an integrated fare system.
- In the 2015–16 fiscal year, 95 Ontario municipalities received $332.9 million from the provincial Gas Tax Program. Under the two-year Community Transportation Pilot Grant Program, 22 municipalities, many without public transit, will receive up to $100,000 each to provide better transportation services to address specific, local transportation needs.
- We have appointed a special advisor to assist the province in bringing high-speed rail to the Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto corridor, in addition to moving forward with the Environmental Assessment process.
- The contract to build the second phase of the 407 East project has been awarded and the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway is now open. The three short-listed bidders for the extension of Highway 427 have been chosen and shovels are in the ground on the early work necessary to prepare for the Highway 7 expansion project.
Developing a Transportation Policy Framework
- We continue to gather information about intercity bus services from both industry and the public as we move forward with our modernization review.
- Initial conversations with short-line rail operators are giving us a better understanding of the industry’s concerns and challenges.
Strengthening Road Safety
- The Making Roads Safer Act is now law and is improving safety for all road users through increased fines and the introduction of demerit points for distracted driving, higher fines for dooring and a one-metre passing rule to protect cyclists. The legislation also includes suspensions and vehicle impoundments for drug-impaired driving that mirror those currently in place for drinking and driving.
- Our $10 million Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program is helping municipalities build new or improved cycling infrastructure and is part of the continuing implementation of #CycleON, our 20-year vision to improve and support cycling in Ontario.
- We continue consultations with our stakeholders in support of the regulation of the towing industry.
- Finally, we launched a new pilot to allow for the testing of automated vehicles on Ontario roads starting January 1, 2016.
Over the past year, the Ministry of Transportation has made remarkable progress on our transit and transportation agenda. I look forward to continuing to advance these important files as we build Ontario up.
Steven Del Duca
|Mandate Letter Commitment||Progress to Date|
|Continue to build better transit and transportation infrastructure across the province.|
|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.|
|Make transit and transportation investments that promote economic productivity, enhance quality of life and improve the natural environment — including reducing greenhouse gases.|
|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 about $15 billion toward transit projects in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) — and about $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 (RER) 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.|
|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.|
|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 transportation services.|