Infrastructure projects continue during pandemic – MPP
Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
Ontario provincial government is continuing its investments in different infrastructure projects during the pandemic, according to a MPP.
“We continue to invest in our projects, continue to invest in highway maintenance. Actually highway maintenance has continued to operate during the pandemic of course there were adjustments we had to make in terms of staffing and scheduling, and things of that nature, just to make sure all of our workers were safe, but that continued the work on the Eglinton Crosstown because of its provincial significance, we understand how important this project is, we continue with construction,” Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation, told MEDIAinTORONTO by phone.
“The work on the Yorkshire Ontario line continues as well. And so, although we’ve had to adapt and certainly adjust our work schedules and the way we perform the work, the work continues. And, and as you know sir. In terms of our transit plan, we’ve continued to release the requests for qualification, or the Eglinton West extension to the airport, the Scarborough subway. Three stop subway extension, as well as the Ontario line. So, we have certainly been focusing on health and safety. That remains a top priority for us but we’ve been doing some good work at the Ministry of Transportation related to our transportation file,” she added.
Regarding the “safety never stops” campaign, the minister said “one of the ways if people would like to see the document in full then they can go on to the Ontario website it will be posted, where we’ve been posting information about workplaces and, and other things just to make sure people are completely informed of what we’re doing, but in saying that we are taking a big role in making sure we communicate the message as much as much as possible, so that people are aware of the measures we’re taking and how we’re acting to protect transit workers as well as passengers. And it’s also our responsibility as well, of the municipality and the transit agency to communicate those messages very clearly to their passengers and to the constituents, as well.”
“We have included guidelines. So guidelines and best practices that transit agencies can use to make sure that their passengers and their workers continue to be informed. But you’re absolutely right. It’s very important for passengers to know their responsibilities as well as it is for the transit operators, so I can get into a few of the recommendations that are included in the safety guidelines, which again, I just want to be very clear are not mandatory. And the reason why we’re not making them mandatory is because we know that transit agencies and municipalities across the province are very different from one another, and the challenges that the TTC may have here in Toronto may be different than a transit agency in Windsor, or perhaps a smaller municipality or a municipality in in Northern Ontario. So we want to remain flexible,” the member of the parliament said, noting that one of the things they are doing and implementing with the GO Transit System through Metrolinx is for example, making sure that alcohol based hand sanitizer is available on every single vehicle.
The provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, has identified over 40 actions to help keep staff and passengers safe when riding GO trains, GO buses and the UP Express. These strategies include:
Piloting health and safety kiosks that provide customers with tools and advice on how to stay safe.
Enhanced deep-cleaning processes for vehicles and in stations.
Providing hand sanitizer on every GO bus and in every station, so passengers can apply during their trip. Installing dividers for safety on GO trains and buses.