Locals call for release of rapidway costs
Access to itemized spending for Highway 7 bus route so far denied
I challenge the province to tell people what the rapidway costs.”
York Region Rapid Transit ( YRT) Corporation is not releasing specific costs for its newly opened vivaNext rapidway project, leaving some locals asking how funds it received from the province and region are being spent.
Gila Martow, president of the Beverley Glen Ratepayers Association near Bathurst Street and Centre Street, believes the BRT costs should be made public to better serve taxpayers.
“The only reason [for] secrecy is that people are afraid of what the taxpayers are thinking,” she said, citing an $8 million price tag for elevators built at the route’s Bayview Avenue and Highway 7 stop.
Her primary concern, however, is the construction of a BRT diversion through her residential neighbourhood for $100 million that she said can be better spent elsewhere.
Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman also called for access to BRT costs: “You can’t find out any costs associated with it,” he said. “I challenge the province to tell people exactly what the rapidway and the whole process of it are costing and where that money is being derived.”
YRT recently opened the first 2.5 kilometres of its centre median bus rapid transit (BRT) route along Highway 7, between Bayview Avenue and Highway 404, four months ahead of schedule. An additional 3.9-kilometre segment will be opened between Highway 404 and Warden Avenue in 2014, according to YRT.
The 6.3-kilometre Highway 7 route will have a total of 11 stops, with two platforms at each one, and has a $287 million budget. The route is part of a five-year project, which will create over 37 kilometres of rapidways.
The BRT project received $1.4 billion from the province, whereas York Region taxpayers are putting forward almost $320 million. However, YRT will not release itemized costs, such as those for its glass-canopied “vivastations,” in order to protect a competitive advantage in tendering contracts for its remaining segments.
Shurman supports the Highway 7 rapidway project, although he opposes the Bathurst and Centre Street diversion.
Gila Martow wants more answers regarding York Region Rapid Transit