Metrolinx Transit Plan Unveiled
Details of a massive plan for the future of public transit in the GTA have finally been unveiled to the media. A report surfaced today pegging the required budget at $55 billion. Now that is if all the recommendations in the plan were to actually go ahead (unlikely). Expect this to blow up into a huge issue around who should be responsible for funding it. Timely, given the talk about an impending federal election.
Back in July we reported that Metrolinx had again delayed this same plan after it was originally scheduled to come out in the spring. This is the organization otherwise known as the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, and this highly anticipated "master plan" is the culmination of a lot of hoopla over the benefits of making transit plans for the whole region rather than each municipality acting independently.
I said it then and I'll say it again: my fingers are crossed that Metrolinx is given the necessary authority and political support to actually pull off a long overdue investment strategy for the region.
There are certainly some ambitious projects reported to be included:
- Express GO Transit rail service from downtown Toronto to Hamilton, Oshawa, Brampton, Richmond Hill and Mississauga, running every 15 minutes, all day, in both directions;
- Express rail service every 15 minutes to Pearson Airport from Union Station;
- A subway or subway-like "Metro" line along Eglinton Avenue;
- A "Downtown Core" east-west subway line;
- Thousands of kilometres of longer and wider roads, including the extension of Highway 407 east to Clarington, as well as extensions to the 404, 427 and 410;
- Local rapid-transit bus or light-rail services along major routes in Hamilton, Halton, Peel, York and Durham Regions;
- $500-million for "active transportation," such as bike lanes;
- Northward extensions of TTC light-rail lines planned for Jane Street and Don Mills north to Highway 7 in York Region;
- GO Transit commuter rail service expansions or improvements including routes to Niagara, Kitchener-Waterloo, Bowmanville and Aurora.
It reads like an answer to the question "if money was no issue what would you do to improve transit in the GTA?" My initial thoughts are that I hope the group spent at least some of their time prioritizing investments and generally joining us in the world of budgets where transit proposals rarely see the light of day. To be fair though and put things in perspective, the plan is for a 25 year period, so it's not like they're suggesting this all be done overnight. We'll have to wait for the actual document to be made available for a closer look.
For more information about Metrolinx and to see the actual report when it is released, you can visit the Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan page.
Photo by Jen44 in the blogTO Flickr Pool
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