Where the Mississauga LRT Project Stands in 2015
For the past couple of years, the planned Hurontario -Main LRT (light rail transit) project has been a bone of contention for people who are either skeptical of the usefulness of a north-south train, terribly afraid of change and/or construction or great lovers of buses.
It has also given other locals hope that better, faster and sleeker infrastructure is in the growing city's future. A train, although not quite as exciting as an east-west subway or TTC link, will move people quicker than buses. That said, construction will be disruptive and the project, which might require additional tax revenue along with both private and public funding, will be costly.
On the plus side, it could increase property values of nearby homes and bring extra traffic to local businesses. It could also kick-start better public transportation in general, possibly spurring the creation of much needed rapid transit linking Sauga to TO.
All that said, the LRT project is still in its infancy and there are no plans to break out heavy-duty power drills anytime soon. We recently chatted with Malon Edwards, the media relations and issues specialist with Metrolinx, to see where the Hurontario-Main LRT is at.
Q1. Realistically, when can we actually see a shovel hit the ground?
A. At this time, the Hurontario-Main LRT project is currently unfunded so there is no estimate as yet for a start date. Metrolinx and the cities of Brampton and Mississauga continue our collaborative efforts to advance this important project closer to implementation readiness.
The Hurontario-Main LRT has progressed through an extensive design and environmental assessment review process (Transit Project Assessment Process or TPAP). After receiving a formal Notice to Proceed from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on August 25, 2014, the cities of Brampton and Mississauga, along with Metrolinx, submitted a statement of completion on September 17 to formally conclude the six-month TPAP.
Q2. Is the project fully-funded yet?
A. The Hurontario-Main LRT project is currently unfunded. Preliminary capital cost estimates are approximately $1.6 billion.
Q3. Where will the funding come from?
A. Metrolinx has identified the Hurontario-Main LRT as a priority project, and the cities are working with Metrolinx as part of funding discussions. All sources of funding are being explored.
Q4. What has the reception been? Is the public excited or concerned?
A. Through the six-month Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) and pre-TPAP work there were eight public information sessions attended by over 1,400 Mississauga and Brampton residents. Feedback from those sessions indicated that there is overall public support in both Mississauga and Brampton for the Hurontario-Main LRT project. Some key concerns were identified in the Downtown and Main Street South Heritage Area in Brampton, so Brampton is undertaking further studies to address these issues.
Q5. How long do you expect construction to take?
A. It's estimated that construction of the Hurontario-Main LRT project alignment as portrayed in the approved environmental assessment would take 5 years.
Q6. When do you expect the LRT to be operational?
A. It's still too early in the planning stages to anticipate a possible in-service date.
Q7. What will the costs for tickets be?
A. Fare levels have not yet been determined but they are expected to be consistent with fares charged elsewhere on the Mississauga and Brampton transit systems.
Q8. Are there any plans for a possible east/west train?
A. The Mississauga Transitway will provide more efficient and reliable east-west transit service on a 18-kilometre dedicated bus corridor along Highway 403 between Winston Churchill Boulevard to Erin Mills Parkway. The first phase of the Transitway opened on November 17, 2014 and includes four stations: Central Parkway, Cawthra Road, Tomken Road and Dixie Road. GO Transit is constructing two west segment Transitway stations and the connecting bus corridor at Winston Churchill and Erin Mills. They are scheduled to open in 2016. As well, the Hurontario-Main LRT will connect to existing Brampton Zum east-west bus rapid transit services on Queen Street and Steeles Avenue.
In addition, Metrolinx's regional transportation plan, The Big Move, identifies two other priority projects that would bring more rapid transit to Mississauga and Brampton: Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit. As well, there are plans to bring Regional Express Rail service to all GO Transit lines, including Lakeshore West, Milton and the Kitchener lines.
Q9. Do you think construction will effect businesses around the construction area and will there be some sort of compensation for them?
A This is a huge project and we realize that the construction can be disruptive and it can be messy. Metrolinx does its best to work closely with local businesses and Business Improvement Areas to lessen the impact of our construction. Metrolinx does not compensate business owners or tenants in the form of tax breaks or operating subsidies for businesses that remain open during construction. Metrolinx does compensate owners, tenants and others whose properties are required for a temporary (for example, an easement for construction staging) or a permanent need who have valid claims for compensation, possibly including business loss, under the Expropriations Act.
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