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Metrolinx to own and control new transit projects?

Metrolinx intends to own and control the new transit projects it funds, starting with the projects it has already identified as a priority for the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. Those projects include:

The transit authority’s new board of directors approved a Metrolinx staff report, recommending the operating model, at its meeting on Monday, July 13.

“This ownership model allows the province to move ahead with major projects which are part of the regional vision, while, at the same time, amortizing its significant investments,” deputy transportation minister Bruce McCuaig wrote in a June 4 letter to Toronto’s City Manager Joseph Pennachetti and York’s chief administrative officer Bruce MacGregor.

Metrolinx will be responsible for everything from building the lines, maintaining them and owning the vehicles.

Metrolinx and Toronto expect to break ground to start building the Sheppard East Transit City line later this year, with service starting in 2013. Metrolinx and York also expect to start building parts of a separate bus rapidway along Davis Drive, Highway 7 and Yonge Street later this year, and also expect to have service start in 2013.

The province is is still negotiating with Toronto and York on the details of how the transition will work.

Meanwhile, Metrolinx, Toronto and York continue to discuss extending two other Transit City lines along Don Mills Road and Jane Street further north into Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

The staff report recommending the new ownership model for Metrolinx priority transit projects did not discuss changing the model for its sixth priority project, the proposed rapid transit lines in Hamilton.

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