Ontario’s transit agency will shrink a major transit line running through Mississauga and Brampton in a bid to reduce project costs.
A statement on Thursday from Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster said changes, approved by the Government of Ontario, will be made to the “scope” of the Hurontario LRT, alleviating what he referred to as “budget pressures.”
Verster revealed three alterations including removing a loop around the city centre, the shelving of a pedestrian bridge at the Cooksville stop, and changes to “street-scaping” along the corridor.
The biggest change in the new plan is the elimination of the three-stop loop around Square One Shopping centre which was to travel along Rathburn Road, Duke Of York Blvd, and Burnhamthorpe Road.
Verster said a “direct in-out access route from Hurontario to the Rathburn stop, located next to the MiWay Transit Terminal” will now be the alternative. The change reduces a 22 stop system to just 19.
The $1.6-billion light rail transit line was announced by the then-Kathleen Wynne government in 2015, and was expected to stretch 23 kilometres between Port Credit and Brampton GO stations with a portion of the construction costs being absorbed through an application for federal assistance.
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Construction is expected to be complete by 2022, with the projected ridership expected to be 35 million annually by 2031.
In a social media post following the announcement, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she was “pleased that the Ontario government remains committed to this important project, including the promise to cover 100 per cent of the costs needed to build the LRT.”
The news comes a day before an announcement by Premier Doug Ford and his transportation Minister Jeff Yurek in regards to Ottawa’s LRT project.
Yurek will also visit Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger next Thursday to talk about the future of that city’s LRT.
— With files from David Shum