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Feds need to consider York, Klees warns

Teresa Latchford, Staff Writer
Yorkregion.com
Oct 7, 2006

(York Region) - York Region had better be at the top of the list when the next federal budget is created.

That's what Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees is telling fellow Conservative federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

The federal government has yet to provide its share of the second phase of the VIVA rapid transit system, which will create dedicated bus lanes expected to reduce travel times by 25 to 40 per cent.

"It takes all three levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, to deal with an issue such as gridlock," Mr. Klees said. "I am going to be very optimistic in having the support."

Mr. Klees worked toward the initial provincial commitment of $50 million, which was matched by the federal government toward phase one of VIVA.

If the federal government commits the money, construction on busways can begin next spring, Mr. Klees said.

The bus lanes will reduce traffic congestions and make it easier for York residents to connect with the TTC and transit systems in Durham Region and Brampton.

According to provincial estimates, the population in York Region is likely to grow by 42 per cent to 1.4 million in 2026. Currently, 20-million people ride the bus in York Region each year but the number is estimated to increase to 60 million within 15 years if the second phase of VIVA is implemented.

Mr. Klees was just named the Newmarket-Aurora Conservative candidate for the 2007 provincial election.

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