Could an LRT be coming that links Mississauga to Toronto?

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Published September 24, 2021 at 3:47 pm

Pearson Airport officials say it’s crucial that a massive light rail transit (LRT) project that will connect Toronto to the eastern border of Mississauga be extended to include the airport. 

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which runs the Mississauga-based airport, is pressing the federal government for financial support so it can push to have the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE) run all the way to the airport from Toronto instead of ending some five kilometres short. 

“We need government support to continue the planning necessary to bring the ECWE to the airport, creating a direct light rail connection from Toronto to Pearson and the surrounding employment zone,” said GTAA officials, who are also asking Ottawa to help fund other important airport projects as Pearson deals with huge financial losses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Pearson Airport Employment Zone, which includes parts of Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto, is Canada’s second-largest employment area, trailing only downtown Toronto’s financial core. 

Current plans will extend the Eglinton Crosstown LRT by 9.2 kilometres west from Toronto to Renforth Ave. in east Mississauga by 2030-31, according to Metrolinx, the Crown agency that manages public transportation in the Golden Horseshoe. 

However, “plans are also being explored with the GTAA to extend the line another 4.7 kilometres to Pearson International Airport,” Metrolinx officials said. 

The extended route, which would include seven passenger stops and an estimated 37,000 daily boardings, will run mainly underground, helping to reduce travel times and improve access to jobs, schools and other destinations across the GTA, Metrolinx says. 

If the route is extended to Pearson Airport, as many as three stops would be added between Renforth Dr. and Pearson. 

Metrolinx is working with Infrastructure Ontario to complete the huge project in the next nine or 10 years. 

When completed, the extended ECWE route will offer convenient links to destinations throughout the region—UP Express and Kitchener line GO train service, TTC bus services at all stops in Toronto, and MiWay and GO bus services via the Mississauga Transitway at Renforth Dr. 

Pearson Airport officials also have their eye on another major project that would benefit the airport and surrounding community. They’re hoping the Finch West LRT project to Humber College will be expanded to include Woodbine station and Pearson. 

(Photo above: two tunnel-boring machines are used in early stages of ECWE light rail transit construction)

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