Feds, Queens Park announce highway extension cash

TORONTO — The Greater Toronto area is getting about $4 million in provincial and federal cash to spend on transit and transportation infrastructure.

As the Ontario Trucking Association described it, “Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper put aside their squabbling over the fiscal imbalance long enough to stand on the same platform to announce a joint federal-provincial plan.”

While much of the funding is still directed at transit projects, there were three highway projects in the announcement:

The environmental assessment process will be fast-tracked to allow the private, Hwy 407 toll highway to be extended eastward 67 kilometres from Brock Rd. in Pickering to Highway 35/115 in Clarington.

Highway 404 is to be extended north from Green Lane to Ravenshoe Road and Hwy 7 will be widened from Brock Road to Highway 12 in Durham Region.

The completion date for all three projects are slated for 2012-2013

The cornerstone of the transit plan was the extension of the Toronto-York Subway line. The existing Spadina subway line will be extended by 8.6 kilometres through York Universityto the Vaughan Corporate Centre. This project is expected to be completed by 2015.

“While the federal government does provide extensive funding for highways and transit in other provinces, Ontario has always been shut out of federal transportation funding. This week’s announcement marks a major policy shift in the federal government’s attitude towards transportation infrastructure in Ontario and hopefully will lead to more such announcements in the future,” OTA stated.

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