Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No blockbuster transit surprises

TORONTO — Ontario plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on delay-plagued GO Transit for new buses, trains and tracks, a new signal system to boost capacity on Toronto's cramped Yonge subway line and new vehicles for suburban bus “rapid-transit” systems.

The provincial budget delivered Tuesday includes more than $1-billion in additional cash for public transit over the next five years, much of it in answer to requests last year from Metrolinx, the regional transportation board made up mostly of Toronto-area municipal politicians the province has asked to come up with a master plan to ease the region's traffic problems.

Commuters crowded into subway trains on the Toronto Transit Commission's Yonge line should be pleased to hear that the province is pledging $293-million for a new computerized system, called automated train control, to replace the line's 50-year-old signals that tell subway drivers when to stop and go.

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