York Region approves $980 million capital budget and rapid transit infrastructure levy

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

York Regional Council has approved $980 million in capital costs in 2022 to support growth and maintain existing infrastructure in a state of good repair.

The budget introduces an incremental one per cent Rapid Transit Infrastructure Levy to help fund the region’s $1.12 billion portion of the Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE). The incremental 1% will be added to the base budget, generating approximately $12 million in the first year. Development charges will also help fund the project.

Metrolinx officials announced Dec. 14 they are looking for teams who are interested in completing early upgrades at Finch Station before major construction on the Yonge North Subway Extension begins.

The Request for Qualifications asks any interested teams to share their qualifications and construction expertise so they can be included when the bidding process begins next year.

Major construction is to start in 2023.

The Yonge North Subway Extension will extend Line 1 roughly 8 km north from Finch Station with four new stops along the way that will serve North York, Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

“The York Region Fiscal Strategy promotes financial sustainability and helps guide future capital projects, how much the Region saves in reserves and how much debt the Region can safely take on. It’s due to our well-managed fiscal strategy that York Region has the highest possible rating with credit rating agencies,” said City of Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua.

The 2022 budget also includes a $9.5-billion 10-year capital plan to 2031, an increase of $1.7 billion over last year.

Highlights of the 2022 capital budget:

Transportation Services and York Region Rapid Transit Corporation: $­­­429.6 million (combined)

  • Invest $3.5 billion over the next 10 years into roads and transit infrastructure to support the safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods
  • Implement the Council-approved Transit and Fleet Electrification Plan to help lower greenhouse gas emissions and phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2051
  • Increase capacity to the Region’s road network by continuing to deliver the approved 10-Year Capital Program

 Yonge North Subway Extension: $75.2 million

Environmental Services: $210.7 million

  • Invest $3 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure over the next 10 years to support the continued growth of communities within the Region and renew the existing water and wastewater network
  • Expand green space and green infrastructure over the next 10 years
  • Implement energy conservation projects across existing facilities to reduce cost and promote sustainability

Community and Health Services: $136.8 million

  • Construct approximately 700 new affordable housing units within the Region by 2025
  • Build two new paramedic stations and redevelop one more over the next two years
  • Expand the Region’s vaccine depot to meet the requirements of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program

Corporate Management and Governance: $55 million

  • Invest in new and upgraded platforms, systems and applications to improve customer service and maintain efficient service delivery to residents
  • Implement capital investments in Regional facilities to maintain efficient service delivery to residents
  • Rehabilitate and replace HVAC systems at long-term care facilities to improve air quality, energy efficiency and occupant comfort

York Regional Police: $32.8 million

  • Build and renew police facilities including the new District 1 Headquarters

YorkNet: $26.5 million

  • Build an additional 270 connections and 150 kilometres of fibre network in 2022 to increase connectivity in rural and underserved areas, including 247 Regional, 17 local municipal and four York Regional Police connections

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