Province investing in 16 transit projects throughout Waterloo to get people moving
KITCHENER — Ontario is working to support municipalities and get people moving by investing up to $4 million for new transit infrastructure projects that will benefit students, faculty and staff of Conestoga College and the University of Waterloo.
“With more than 3,000 riders counting on taking a Grand River Transit bus to Conestoga College each and every weekday, it is clear that access to transit is a critical part of student life in the Region of Waterloo,” said Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario. “Ontario is keeping its promise to help get people moving. These investments will help students pursue their education and connect them to the larger community and jobs, which many students need to support their education. This helps make Ontario open for business, which means Open for Everybody.”
The funding includes the construction of four heated shelters with an area for 40 bikes as well as improved amenities and protection for passengers at the University of Waterloo. Conestoga College will see increased service with the purchase of six new buses and the installation of nine bus shelters, canopies and other amenities. This project is being nominated under the Public Transit stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), a 10-year, $30-billion fund that provides support to help municipalities repair or build critical infrastructure. This is part of the government’s 10-year, $144 billion strategic infrastructure capital plan, which includes over $90 billion for public transit and provincial highways over the next decade.
The project in Waterloo is in addition to 15 transit projects in the region being nominated. The transit projects are worth up to $60.7 million in provincial funding. They include building the new Grand River Northfield Bus Maintenance Facility, and the purchase of new 30 buses, which will allow for transit expansion to meet growing demand in the region.
“This government is committed to building infrastructure that makes life better for people across Ontario,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure. “Better public transit creates stronger communities and frees more time for students to pursue their education and find work, which helps make Ontario open for business.”
The projects are now with the federal government for final funding decisions as they are reviewed for eligibility under the ICIP program. Some projects could begin as soon as fall 2019.
- In addition, GRT also provides specialized transit services including door-to-door service using specialized vehicles.
- The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is a $30 billion, 10-year infrastructure program cost-shared between federal, provincial and municipal governments. Ontario’s share per project will be up to 33.33 per cent or about $10.2 billion spread across four streams: 1. Rural and Northern, 2. Public Transit, 3. Green, 4. Community, Culture and Recreation.
- These projects are from the first intake of ICIP applications from municipalities outside the GTHA. Some project applications from this intake are still under consideration by the Province. The Province intends to make more announcements from this intake soon. Information on additional intakes will be released when available.
- The combined investment from the federal, provincial and local governments for the 16 Region of Waterloo transit projects forwarded under the Public Transit stream would be more than $182 million.
- The government also nominated 15 major transit projects in the City of Toronto, Region of York and City of London to the federal government for approval, as well as 144 road, bridge, air and marine infrastructure projects under the Rural and Northern stream.
- Grand River Transit (GRT) provides service in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Elmira, St. Jacobs, Baden, Petersburg and New Hamburg. It operates more than 50 routes, covers more than 16 million kilometres every year and had a ridership of more than 19.7 million in 2017.
“Kitchener is a global center of talent and creativity because we are a great city where people can live, work and play. We welcome the provincial investment as it will help ease congestion, connecting people to jobs and opportunities. Moving people more quickly and easily with improved transit service and additional cycling infrastructure is vital to our continued economic growth.”
“The Ontario government is working with federal and municipal partners to get people moving. Investments in transit spur economic growth and connect Ontarians with each other. We trust that the government will continue to support the development of public transit operations moving forward.”
“Significant investment in infrastructure is essential in a growing community like Waterloo Region. The partnership with senior levels of government—provincial and federal—is crucial to achieving local priorities that enable our community to move towards addressing the needs of our growing region.”
“Investing in public transit and active transportation routes for cyclists and pedestrians will encourage more people to get out of their cars, hop on their bikes and public transit, and get to where they want to go. This is good news for families in Cambridge and Waterloo Region, and our environment.”
“These projects will go a long way to providing frequent and reliable transit in the Waterloo Region. Transit is a great investment. Each $1 spent on transit infrastructure grows the economy by $29 over its life-cycle.”