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Billion-dollar handshake

YORK REGION Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch, left, and Premier Dalton McGuinty shake hands after a multibillion-dollar transit funding announcement in Vaughan Wednesday. (Philip Alves/Vaughan Today)

It was a whopper of an announcement on Wednesday.

York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch welcomed Premier Dalton McGuinty’s pledge of $1.4 billion in provincial transit money for new Viva buses and the construction of dedicated bus rapidways on Hwy. 7, Yonge St. and Davis Dr.

The premier made the announcement, part of a $9-billion transit plan, at Viva’s Caldari Operations Centre in Vaughan.

“We will be investing in new Viva buses here in York Region, as well as in over 30 kilometres of new and dedicated bus lanes to get them moving faster,” McGuinty said. “In fact up to 40 percent faster.”

The Viva expansion is one of five projects across the GTA and Hamilton receiving a piece of the $9-billion transit pie.

“It’s the most ambitious project of its kind in Canadian history,” McGuinty said.

Construction on the Viva bus rapidways is expected to begin in three or four months, Fisch said.

“We’re going to have more buses and we’re going to have rapidways, which is the key to putting rapid into rapid transit,” he said. “Without that, we can’t get anywhere.”

Vaughan Today
Online: April 2, 2009 [link]