At countless events, it seems, Ontario's Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca reminds members of the public and the media that "Ontario is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, public transit, roads and bridges in the province's history."

And, of course, the minister isn't wrong: a large number of provincial infrastructure projects are, indeed, moving forward—sometimes it seems too many to keep track of. But for many people, the fact that these projects will bring more transit service to their communities several years from now has little impact. They want better service, but they want it now.

This week, Minister Del Duca commuted to King City GO Station to translate two of those long-term infrastructure projects into more GO Transit train and bus service as soon as next month.

Ontario Minister of Transportation announcing more Barrie Line GO trains.Minister Del Duca with Mary Proc, Metrolinx Vice President of Customer Service at King City GO Station, image, @stevendelduca

King City and other stations along GO's Barrie line will almost immediately benefit from more rush-hour train service. The first day after Labour Day, Tuesday, September 5, GO is extending two morning trains that currently start their trips in Maple to start, instead, in Allandale Waterfront GO Station--just south of downtown Barrie. This means that all Barrie-line commuters can enjoy 15-minute service during the busiest times of the week.

GO is also introducing two new trains to operate along the line. One new train leaves Bradford Monday-to-Friday mornings, dropping off and picking up passengers at all stations along the line to Union Station. An new afternoon train leaves Union and ends its trip in Bradford.

Regional express rail along GO Transit's Barrie rail corridorPlanned frequencies for the Barrie GO corridor after implementation of RER, image courtesy of Metrolinx

GO bus passengers traveling to and from Mississauga also get to see a long-term construction project jump from the drawing boards to the reality of better service next month, too. GO is extending two of its bus routes--linking Guelph with Mississauga and Hamilton with Pearson Airport and Richmond Hill--east of Square One and further along the Mississauga Transitway. Buses serving both routes start operating to Dixie Transitway Station and to an on-street stop near the future Renforth Station, which opens later this fall.

Mississauga Transitway mapA map of the Mississauga Transitway. The final station, Renforth, opens this fall, image Metrolinx

MiWay is increasing local service along the transitway this September so that buses serve stations about every 4 minutes during rush hours and every 6 minutes Monday-to-Friday midday. GO will also extend at least two more bus routes to the two transitway stations early next year.

Increases to train service along the Barrie line directly result from recent Metrolinx construction projects. Since early 2015, Metrolinx has improved the grading and signals and built a second track on a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) section of the corridor from north of York University GO Station to Rutherford GO Station. And, going back to the future, this June, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from suppliers to build and finance a project to further expand and upgrade the railway infrastructure for the line. Metrolinx intends to double-track the entire line south of Aurora, upgrade signals, build noise- and retaining-walls and expand a number of roadway bridges. It's also planning to upgrade Rutherford, Maple, King City, Aurora, Newmarket, East Gwillimbury, Bradford, Barrie South and Allandale Waterfront GO Stations.

Downsview Park GO Station and TTC stationDownsview Park GO under construction as part of the TTC subway extension project, image, TTC

Yesterday, Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx also issued an RFQ for interested parties to design, build and finance the Davenport Diamond Rail Grade Separation project. Still coming down the construction pike for Barrie commuters are new stations at 6th Line in Innisfil, at Mulock in Newmarket, Kirby in Vaughan, and Downsview Park and Caledonia in Toronto. At Downsview Park, GO commuters will eventually connect with the upcoming extension to the TTC's Line 1 Yonge-University subway, which starts hosting trains this December. At Caledonia, they can also board trains on the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line, slated to open in 2021.

All of this work brings Metrolinx closer toward establishing regional express rail service along the Barrie line and most other GO rail lines in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. That means more frequent trains, all day, both ways, by 2025.

Plan for GO Transit regional express rail service, all day, every day, both waysAn overview of GO's regional express rail (RER) benefits, image, Metrolinx

The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Mississauga all helped fund the 18-kilometre (11-mile) Mississauga Transitway. The City built the central portion of the bus rapid transit line, with Metrolinx constructing the two westernmost stations and the easternmost, Renforth. When that station opens, it will be a regional transit hub, where bus passengers can connect with GO, TTC and MiWay buses. In the longer-term, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT may also loop through the station.

Renforth Station on the Mississauga TransitwayRendering of Renforth Transitway Station, opening later this year, image, Metrolinx

* * *

Also issued this week by Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx was a Request for Proposals to three shortlisted teams to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Hurontario Light Rail Transit project in Mississauga and southern Brampton.

The two provincial agencies had issued an RFQ last October to shortlist the top three teams for their construction, design, operation and maintenance capability and experience, the qualifications of their personnel and their financial capacity to deliver a project of this size and scope.

The shortlisted teams are: Hurontario Light Rail Partners; Mobilinx; and Trillium Transit Partners. The groups must now start preparing proposals that detail how they would deliver the project. After evaluating the proposals, IO and Metrolinx expect to award the contract in 2018.

Map of the Hurontario LRTMap of the Hurontario light rail transit line in Mississauga and southern Brampton, image, Metrolinx

We will continue to update you about these projects as they proceed. You can find out more about the projects from our database files, which we've linked below. Want to talk about it? Leave a comment in the space on this page, or join the conversation in our associated Forum threads.