York-Simcoe
Provincial Liberal Association

Province investing to improve traffic!

Mayor Keffer: "good news for our commuters"

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Earlier this year, along with Town Council, I was very glad to host Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, at the GO train station in Bradford.

Minister Del Duca was at the GO station to highlight the new, year-long weekend GO train service. As the province works to build all-day, hourly service between Barrie and Union Station, adding in the weekend service is a big step forward. It’s great to see all the improvements to GO train service, with new trains as part of the weekday service and now the permanent weekend service. We’ve come a long way; in fact, Councillor Gary Baynes showed Minister Del Duca his original ticket from the first GO train ride in the 1980s down to Union Station.

As part of the new weekend service, trains leave Barrie both Saturdays and Sundays at 9:03 a.m., 9:47 a.m. and 11:02 a.m., and return from Toronto at 4:28 p.m., 9:50 p.m. and 10:50 p.m. There’s also improved bus service from Bradford connecting to trains every 90 minutes leaving Aurora during the off-peak hours. It’s a good service and I look forward to it continuing to expand.

We also had the opportunity to discuss ways to improve GO train service, including addressing safety at the platforms and finding an ideal location for rail storage. As well, it’s good to note that a new train station will be built in the coming years in Innisfil, helping take some of the pressure off of our station.

Having the Minister in Bradford, we were also able to show off some of our local transit accomplishments and the results of provincial investments, starting with the renovated and restored historic train station itself. It’s been a few years, but it’s really wonderful to think of all the hard work that went into restoring our historic train station.

Minister Del Duca also got to inspect our new bus transit system, which is funded in large part by the provincial government transferring municipalities a portion of the funds raised from the gas tax. Since 2014, our bus service has grown to serve a growing number of local residents, particularly seniors.

Also in January, I had the opportunity to attend an announcement by the Premier and Minister Del Duca that they would be doubling the amount of money the province transfers to municipalities from the gas tax to support further investments in transit. This was also the announcement when the Premier axed Toronto’s idea of tolling the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner. No tolls for Toronto is good news for our commuters. The full announcement is very good news for Bradford West Gwillimbury; currently, we receive about $250,000 from the provincial gas tax transfer, and that amount is now projected to increase to over $500,000 in 2019. The funding goes to transit and other infrastructure improvements, such as roads and bridge repairs.

Along with the new Marshview Boulevard and the coming Highway 400-Fifth Line interchange, we are working to ensure we have options for commuters as we work to tackle traffic gridlock across our region.

Finally, no meeting with Minister Del Duca would be complete without taking the opportunity to encourage him to plan for and build the Hwy 400-404 Link, which we were sure to do. He joked that he had an “over-under” bet on how long it would take us to raise the issue. He also indicated that our efforts have ensured the province realizes the importance of the link.

Improving traffic flow is a critical priority, and I am glad of the way we work co-operatively with the province to make improvements. It was good to have the Minister in town.

(Originally published in The Bradford Topic by Mayor Rob Keffer.)