Ontario earmarks $67.5B for public transit projects and Hazel McCallion LRT expansions in Mississauga and Brampton


Published March 27, 2024 at 2:52 pm

Hazel McCallion LRT expansions in Mississauga and Brampton
The completed platform canopy at the Hazel McCallion LRT Derry Station in Mississauga. (Photo: Brampton MP Prabmeet Sarkaria)

The province is planning to spend more than $67 billion to build public transit projects across Ontario, including the Hazel McCallion LRT expansion into downtown Brampton.

Ontario released its 2024 budget on Tuesday, which outlined the government’s spending plans and projected a ballooning $9.8 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year.

One area of spending that will have a direct impact on Mississauga and Brampton residents is a commitment of $67.5 billion over the next 10 years to build and improve public transit in the province, including the downtown Brampton LRT expansion and a transit loop in Mississauga.

The off-again-on-again projects got a lifeline in January when Brampton MP and Transportation Minister Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria asked Metrolinx to bring forward a plan to build the downtown Mississauga loop and an extension into downtown Brampton.

Tuesday’s budget makes special mention of the Hazel McCallion LRT line with the province confirming the business case had been accepted, with additional planning and design work set to begin soon.

Under the Building Transit Faster Act, the province says the Hazel McCallion Line extensions have been marked as “priority transit projects.” Work on the already-under-construction LRT line will continue while the province works on planning and design of the extensions.

The original project assessment was approved by the previous Liberal government in September 2014 with a design that included a surface alignment along Main Street into downtown Brampton. The city is advocating for a nearly $3 billion tunnel option rather than a surface alignment, saying the underground route would have less of an impact on road traffic.

Despite pleas from Mayor Patrick Brown and Brampton City Council to build underground, the province has yet to commit to either the tunnel or surface option. Brown has said the project would allow for the construction of some 42,700 units to be built in Brampton by 2031.

In Mississauga, the extension of the Hazel McCallion line would see a transit loop connecting the LRT on Hurontario Street to Square One with additional stops through to Confederation Parkway in the downtown core. With some 75,000 people expected to be living in highrises around Square One over the next decade, the loop would bring a public transit stop right at resident’s doorsteps.

Just last week platform canopy construction was completed on the first Hazel McCallion Line expansion at Derry Road. There are currently 19 stops on the Hazel McCallion Line running from south Mississauga to Brampton, with work expected to wrap later this year or in early 2025.

Along with the province pledge to spend $67.5 billion over the next decade on transportation, other budget highlights included the province i planning to bring in auto insurance reforms, put money toward four police helicopters for Greater Toronto Area forces, and support a new York University medical school focused on training family doctors.

For this fiscal year, the province is expected to end 2023-24 with a $3-billion deficit, an improvement from the $4.5 billion expectation that Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy had just a month ago when he presented the third quarter finances.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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