Lo­cals call for re­lease of rapid­way costs

Ac­cess to item­ized spend­ing for High­way 7 bus route so far de­nied

Richmond Hill Post - - Neighbourhood News - By Ni­cholas Miz­era

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

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