OMCA Report
Jun. 19, 2015

Temporary HOV lanes can be used by any bus
During the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, on some routes in the GTHA one lane will be converted to a temporary HOV lane. Temporary HOV lanes will operate from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and will be marked with pavement markings and signs. A government website lists the following vehicles as being eligible to use the temporary HOV lanes:

• Accredited Games vehicles used to transport athletes, media, officials, etc.
• Motor vehicles with 3 or more occupants from June 29 through July 27
• Motor vehicles with 2 or more occupants from July 28 through August 18
• Emergency vehicles
• Public transit
• Licenced taxis
• Airport limousines (on provincial highways only)
• Electric vehicles and green vehicles (on provincial highways only)

MTO's Traffic Office has confirmed that all buses, even empty buses and buses with no Games affiliation, are permitted to use the temporary HOV lanes.More

MTO and police expected to step up enforcement against decommissioned school buses that have not been painted another colour
On June 2, an amendment to the HTA closed a long-standing loophole that prevented enforcement of the law that says no bus other than a school bus can be chrome yellow in colour. This law has been on the books for several decades, however, MTO and police did not enforce it, because all a defendant had to do was tell the court that they carried at least one person under 18 years of age on the bus once a year. With the amendment now in place, expect to see police and MTO officers confronting operators of decommissioned school buses (i.e. the signs, warning lights and stop arm are removed) that are still showing any chrome yellow paint. Those operators will have to paint the bus (in whole) another colour. A conviction carries 2 or 3 CVOR points, depending on which section of the Act the charge is laid under. In the case of the sale of a decommissioned school bus, the seller does not have to paint the bus prior to transfer of ownership — the onus is on the new operator to comply with the Act. More

Ontario supporting specialized transit service for Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games
Government of Ontario
Ontario is supporting a new transportation service to help all spectators enjoy the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games. This summer, spectators attending the Games can get to their sporting events by using "Call One," a new call centre service to book specialized transit and coordinate trips between service providers.More

Union Station revitalization costs climb over $800 million
Toronto Sun
The cost of the Union Station revitalization is climbing to more than $800 million. Councillors on the government management committee recently approved an additional expenditure of more than $4 million for the project. Council still has to OK the increase next month. More

Mayor: Provincial roads fund lacking
Northern Business
The provincial government has reinstated the Connecting Links program to upgrade roads and bridges across Ontario, but in the North, critics say the $15 million annual allotment isn't nearly enough to cover the work that needs to be done. The Connecting Link (minus the 's') program offered provincial municipalities a subsidy to help pay for construction, repairs and maintenance to municipal roads and bridges that were part of provincial highways. But the province cancelled the program in 2013, leaving municipalities to cover the costs of those repairs. More

Ontario replacing peeling signs on highway lanes to be used during Pan Am
CTV News
Ontario's government says work will get underway as soon as possible to replace peeling signs marking temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes in the Toronto region that will be used for the Pan Am Games. The lanes are being set up to help ease traffic congestion during the sporting event which will see thousands of athletes and visitors descend on the city and its surrounding areas. More

City outlines $33 million in road work for Sudbury
Sudbury Star
Committee members vaulted a number of road-worthy questions at Tony Cecutti, the city's general manager of infrastructure services, for more than an hour. The topics were varied, but covered compliance, construction companies and the ins-and-outs of tendering effective contracts. The meeting also allowed Cecutti to clear up some misconceptions regarding the city's never-ending cycle of roadwork.More

Ontario public elementary teachers seeking $3.2 billion in monetary demands, school boards claim
National Post
Elementary students in Toronto who have been caught up in a labour dispute will receive their final grades by mid-July, the school board said recently. The Toronto board said it will hire staff to input the grades and get the report cards in the mail. More

Why the Pan-Am Games won't fix Canada's tourism woes
The Huffington Post
Ontario is the most common destination for Americans for numerous reasons but there is always more to be done in bringing new and repeat visitors across the border. The Canadian government's Connecting America program was proposed in 2013 by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and the Canadian Tourism Commission as a way to form a federal-level initiative to connect all regions of Canada and strengthen the Canadian brand to the south. The specific goal is a four per cent increase in American traffic (about 650,000 visitors) to Canada over a three-year period.More

Highway 401 expansion ignores key design flaws, hurts area businesses
Canadian Manufacturing
Construction is about to begin on a project to widen a stretch of Highway 401 through Mississauga, ON, despite the efforts of a local manufacturer to get the province to fix a major design flaw. Ernie Lynch, founder of Mississauga-based manufacturer Lynch Fluid Controls, says the planned improvements do not address a problem that bogs down transport, hurts the efficiency of hundreds of businesses, contributes to carbon emissions and wastes $200 million in fuel every year. More

Ontario to offer free transit for Pan Am and Para Pan Am Games ticket holders
CTV News
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is offering free transit to ticket holders for the Pan Am and Para Pan Am Games. The move is part of its plan to ease traffic congestion during the games. On the day of the event, ticket holders can show their tickets to get free rides on GO Transit, the Toronto Transit system and 12 other regional transit systems. More

How culinary tourism is becoming a growing trend in travel
The Huffington Post
There's a growing population of travellers that have become more interested in the various cuisines and cultures from countries all over the world, and are planning vacations specifically to incorporate culinary trips. One of the reasons for this evolution has been wine, beer and food festivals. Toronto's Caribana Festival is a good example. Now in its 47th year it's expected to draw over one million tourists from all over the world, much the same as New Orlean's Mardi Gras and Brazil's Carnival. More