Friday, February 08, 2008

Using a machete to cut through red tape

The Province has sped up the implementation of MoveOntario 2020 by narrowing the focus and placing time limits on environmental assessments for transit projects. Under the new rules expected in June, environmental assessments must be complete within six months, and the Ministry of the Environment must complete a review with 35 days. This means that engineering design can begin within 8 months of the start of the EA, rather than the two years or more it took under the previous rules.

Also, the focus of the assessment will now be solely on the environment. Previously, anything that could be debated was debated, and many of the delays were due to trivial things like curb heights (although obviously not trivial to those who raised concerns).

Finally, and perhaps the most controversial, is the regulation that the technology can be selected from the outset. This means that we will know from the start if a project will be constructed as a subway, as a bus rapid transit line, or something in between. While this might not seem controversial, it means that parts of Transit City will be implemented as proposed - effectively laying to rest any chance of the Sheppard line being completed as a subway.

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