Ontario to invest $1.6 billion for Mississauga-Brampton LRT project

WATCH ABOVE: The Mississauga-Brampton LRT, a $1.6 billion project, raises questions about what’s left for Toronto transit projects. Marianne Dimain reports.

TORONTO – The Ontario government announced Tuesday it is investing $1.6 billion to build a light rail transit line connecting Mississauga and Brampton.

“This new LRT will help manage congestion, offer more convenient travel options and provide the foundation to support a prosperous downtown for the residents of both Mississauga and Brampton,” said Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca in a media release.

The proposed 23-kilometre rail line would run between the Port Credit and Brampton GO stations.

The province expects a portion of the construction cost would be absorbed through an application for federal assistance.

The LRT line is slated to have 26 stops and provide connections to many of the region’s existing transit lines including GO Transit’s Kitchener, Milton and Lakeshore West rail lines, Brampton Züm, and the Mississauga Transitway.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018 and be complete by 2022 with the projected ridership expected to be 35 million annually by 2031.

However, the funding announcement could mean Toronto’s plan for a downtown subway relief line may be financially out of reach.

The province had originally promised to invest $16 billion over 10 years for transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), but the LRT cost and the $13.5 billion promised to expand service on the regional GO rail network announced last week will nearly drain all the available funds.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement Tuesday afternoon he looks forward to continuing to work with the province on building Toronto transit.

“Last week the province announced additional funding and a timeline for the electrification of the Go Train lines, which are critically important to SmartTrack,” read the statement. “We also look forward to Thursday’s provincial budget, where we hope to see additional investment in Toronto.”

With a file from Marianne Dimain

© 2015 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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