Updated by By Jay Gill
Minister Harinder Takhar made made no guarantees
but local ocal politicians angling for seat on transit
Toronto, April, 04, 2006
Local politicians are eager for a seat on Ontario's
transit commission, but Transportation Minister Harinder
Takhar is not taking reservations yet.
Takhar was in Brampton Wednesday, with Ontario Finance
Minister Dwight Duncan, local MPPs and other provincial
representatives, for a breakfast meeting sponsored by
the Brampton and Mississauga boards of trade as well
as Caledon Chamber of Commerce. Duncan was keynote speaker
at the event organized to discuss Ontario's latest budget.
The primary focus in Ontario's 2006 budget is $838
million to expand and modernize public transit in the
Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Brampton was one of the
grateful beneficiaries. The city is receiving $95 million
to begin building its rapid transit project Acceleride.
The money is part of the government's new $1.2 billion
Move Ontario initiative.
The budget also includes government plans to establish
a Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA) responsible
for promoting a seamless public transit system across
Mayor Susan Fennell said the new authority would play
a pivotal role in public transportation throughout the
GTA. "It will have the most to say about where
transportation will occur," she said.
Brampton Centre MPP Linda Jeffrey agreed. "If
we don't have a voice there we're invisible and we're
too big to be invisible," Jeffrey said.
In an interview with The Guardian, Takhar said his
ministry is in the process of developing legislation
to create the authority and determine its members. "We
want to make sure that the region of Peel is represented,"
He further suggested representation might be regional
rather than city specific. Representation by city might
make the authority too large, he said.
Takhar also mentioned tenders on Phase Two of the Hwy.
410 extension from Bovaird Drive to Mayfield Road are
expected to close April 19 and construction should begin
in May. However, Regional Chair Emil Kolb could not
confirm whether the extension to Mayfield Road would
be open to motorists once completed.
Kolb explained the original construction agreement
among the region, Brampton and Town of Caledon stated
the expansion would not be open to traffic until Phase
Three construction is complete to Hwy. 10 in Caledon.
The province is still in the initial stages of acquiring
land needed to construct Phase Three of the extension.
Kolb said he expects Caledon would be cooperative in
allowing the road to open from Bovaird to Mayfield without
completion of the final phase. But he could not guarantee
He also noted the bridge construction on Mayfield Road
must still be completed to allow traffic on and off
Hwy. 410 once Phase Two is finished.
During his speech, Duncan patted himself and the Liberal
government on the back for a 2006 budget containing
no new taxes or tax increases and elimination of the
deficit by 2008/2009.
He then departed the breakfast meeting, but left Takhar,
local MPPs, municipal politicians and his parliamentary
secretary to field questions from the floor.
He stopped briefly to answer some questions from reporters.
He offered no government commitments in responding
to a media question about the lack of money in the budget
to address mounting social services costs in Peel and
inequity in funding levels. "We acknowledge there
is more to do," he said, noting that social services
costs have been downloaded by the federal government.
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