While Peel’s grand-scale Hurontario Light-Rail Transit project has been controversial, there’s little doubt that the train would benefit the region overall by attracting investment and, above all else, moving people more efficiently through a busy north/south corridor.
Now, a recent press release from the Ontario NDP indicates that the approved transit project could be in serious jeopardy.
And the response from the PC government does little to alleviate those fears.
“After a concerning meeting with the ministry representatives where they refused to end rumors that the government is planning to cancel the planned Hurontario LRT and GO Electrification, I gave Doug Ford’s government another chance to set the record straight,” writes Jessica Bell, NDP critic for transit.
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“Instead of clearing saying that these projects are still on the Ford government’s agenda, the minister responded with vague platitudes that didn’t even reference the projects that I had clearly asked about.”
The LRT, a $1.4 billion higher-order transit project being carried out by Metrolinx, will–if it does indeed go forward–span 20 km and run from Port Credit GO at Lakeshore Rd. in the south to the Brampton Gateway Terminal at Steeles Ave in the north.
The LRT will boast 22 stops and provide connections to the Port Credit and Cooksville GO stations, Mississauga Transitway, MiWay and Zum transit lines.
While the LRT has been significantly more controversial in Brampton, the city has been looking into route options.
In fact, Bramptonians began studying alternate LRT routes earlier this year, mainly focused on whether the LRT can continue past Steeles along Kennedy or McLaughlin Road. But despite the Main Street option taken off the table by council back in 2015, some residents are still adamant that it was the ‘perfect route’ and that reconsideration should be made.
The PC government has not confirmed or denied rumors that the LRT is on the chopping block, but has insinuated that it’s not necessarily a done deal, citing “efficiencies.”
“Our government is committed to improving the transit experience across the GTHA to get people moving and make life easier for Ontarians. We are determined to deliver a modern transit system that will serve the region’s growing communities, drive economic development and alleviate traffic congestion.” says Jeff Yurek, a spokesperson for the Transportation Minister.
“We have to eliminate the inefficiencies of the previous Liberal government and make sure we invest in efficient and effective transit projects that achieve the best value for our customer – the Ontario taxpayer. Our decisions will be based on what is best for the people of the GTHA, including Peel Region.”
Prior to the Oct. 22 municipal elections, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said that there was no indication (and there wasn’t at the time) that the Ford government planned on scraping the highly-anticipated LRT (a project for which construction has already commenced).
“I’ve informally discussed the matter with Premier (Doug) Ford and talked to cabinet ministers, and they are very aware how vital this is to our growth and development,” Crombie said during a mayoral candidates debate at the University of Toronto-Mississauga last month.
Bell appears less than optimistic that the project will go through.
“Sadly, I and the people of Ontario are left to conclude that these projects are indeed on the chopping block,” Bell wrote.
“Ontarians deserve more. They deserve a government that is transparent, a government that keeps their promises and most importantly, a government that is able to responsibly get Ontario moving.”
Updates to follow.