Minister Del Duca
Minister of Transportation
3rd Floor, Ferguson Block
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Z8

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

RE: Relief Line and Yonge Subway Extension

Dear Minister Del Duca,

We are pleased to share with you this year’s Ontario Chamber Network’s Pre-Budget submission which includes a call for dedicating specific revenue towards Metrolinx Big Move and ‘Next Wave’ priority projects. The Ontario Chamber Network represents 135 communities across Ontario and acts as the voice of 60,000 businesses. This particular pre-budget submission is based on a motion that was brought forward at the 2017 Ontario Chamber AGM by the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, Vaughan Chamber of Commerce and Richmond Hill Board of Trade with full support from the Markham Board of Trade. As a chamber network, we are urging the the Government of Ontario, the Regional Municipality of York and the City of Toronto to expedite the conversation on dedicating revenue streams for Metrolinx Big Move and ‘Next Wave’ priority projects, including the Yonge North Subway Extension and the Yonge Relief Line, given the benefits to the GTHA and wider-region for current and future generations.

As a province, we are significantly behind on our transportation infrastructure and it’s extremely critical that we close the increasing transportation gap in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. The past 20 years have seen the population size rapidly increase throughout the GTHA but unfortunately, infrastructure investments have not kept pace with this growth.

We applaud your government for recently made investments towards public transit. Further investment into the Yonge subway extension and Relief line will complement investments made in our existing transit network and help connect the GTHA by integrating with neighbouring transit options. They will also help maximize the recent investments in GO Transit, VIVA-YRT, Eglinton Crosstown LRT, UP Express connectivity to Pearson Airport, and the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension culminating in Vaughan. This will allow municipalities’ far greater connectivity with surrounding communities.

Already included in the Metrolinx Big Move and identified as ‘Next Wave’ priority projects, developments of this magnitude will lead to new business and job creation, intensification, and the attraction of more affordable housing as well as significant environmental benefits. In fact, by eliminating the need for 2,500 bus trips that currently service a stretch of Yonge Street each weekday, the Yonge North Subway Extension has significant potential to reduce carbon emissions and eliminate up to 28 tonnes of GHG each workday. Notably, the Yonge North Subway Extension has already received $55 million from the Province for preliminary engineering and design, an investment that should be maximized. We also want to acknowledge the $36 million from the federal government that has made it clear to the York Region business community of the commitment to the project.

As populations continue to grow and densities rise throughout the GTHA and beyond, we need to create connected infrastructure for future generations that ensures the greatest range of mobility options. Projects of this size and scope require the financial support of all levels of government over an extended duration of time. The longer we wait, the more expensive projects of this magnitude become.

Minister Del Duca, we recognize that you are a strong advocate for transportation investment in the Province. We would be pleased to work with you, your government and other levels of government to advance these projects. It would also be our pleasure to meet with you to further the conversation on this file.

Thank you,

Debra Scott
President and CEO of the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce

Brian Shifman
President and CEO of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce

Richard Cunningham
President and CEO of the Markham Board of Trade

Karen Mortfield
Executive Director of the Richmond Hill Board of Trade

cc: MPP Chris Ballard, MPP Reza Moridi, Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, MPP Michael Chan, MPP Gila Martow, Mayor Van Bynen, MPP Julia Munrow, Mayor David Barrow, Chairman Wayne Emmerson, MPP Helena Jaczek, Mayor Frank Scarpitti

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