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Province advances on Simcoe transport plan

BARRIE, Ont. -- Transportation Minister Norm Sterling says the government has completed a comprehensive study addre...

BARRIE, Ont. — Transportation Minister Norm Sterling says the government has completed a comprehensive study addressing the long-term transportation needs of Simcoe County and the surrounding area.

The Simcoe Area Transportation Network Needs Assessment Study — which was launched in the summer of 2000 — recommends a number of infrastructure improvements for the area to accommodate future economic growth and travel demand.

“These transportation initiatives will provide major benefits to Simcoe area residents, businesses and tourists,” says Sterling. “Planning for transportation infrastructure now will ensure road safety and local economic competitiveness in the future.”

Key recommendations of the Simcoe Study include improving the Hwy. 400 corridor, planning a new transportation corridor extending northerly from the top of Hwy. 427 around Barrie (including connections to Hwy.s 400 and 11 north of Barrie), determining the economic feasibility of commuter rail service to Barrie, promoting ride sharing and express bus services and protecting land for transitways, high occupancy vehicles and/or bus lanes along new highway corridors.

“These improvements are beneficial for our area and its economy,” says Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson. “A strong network of both local and provincial roads means that goods — and more importantly, people — move safely and more efficiently. I’m very pleased that Simcoe-Grey is getting the attention it deserves for its transportation needs.”

With the Simcoe Study completed, the next step is to undertake the Environmental Assessment process for new facilities and for the proposed expansion of existing facilities. A key objective of this process is to protect sensitive and natural features and will involve a detailed assessment of alternative routes, environmental impacts, and extensive public consultation.

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