NEWS

Brampton votes on fully-funded Hurontario-Main LRT

07/08/2015 01:43 EDT | Updated 07/08/2016 05:59 EDT
Brampton is ready to decide on its transit future in a vote that may change the look and direction of the city for generations to come.

On Wednesday night, city council will decide whether there's a need for a light rail transit (LRT) line running along Hurontario and Main Streets in the bedroom suburb on the outskirts of Toronto.

Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey called the proposed project a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must be seized" in an op-ed written Tuesday for the Toronto Star.

The province said in April they're willing to fully fund the entire route — even at a cost of $1.6 billion. Mississauga, the city's southerly neighbour who would share the LRT if approved, has expressed interest in supporting the line.

Not enough space downtown

It may seem like an exciting proposition for a part of the country starved for transportation options but not all are on board.

"My biggest fear is this LRT, if it goes to downtown, it will be devastating," said Brampton Coun. John Sprovieri.

"The sidewalks are very narrow, they're only about four-, five-feet wide and they want to put this LRT right up against this curb," Sprovieri said. "So basically, you have these trains running every seven minutes up and down and people walking on this narrow sidewalk."

That's exactly what the plan calls for; the line is to run from the Port Credit GO Station near Lake Ontario in southern Misssissauga along Hurontario and Main Streets for 23 kilometres until it reaches Brampton GO Station north of Queen Street — the heart of downtown Flower City.

City hasn't kept up with times

Despite the potential logistical issues, Mayor Jeffrey voiced her support for the plan.

"Do you want your city to move forward, to get jobs, to attract other investments like in our case, we're looking to attract a university. How will we move 10,000 students?" she said.

The mayor has said her city's downtown core has "failed to keep up with the times," asking voters to show "a leap of faith and a vision" for Brampton by supporting the line.

"We know that where you build transit, jobs and economic development flourish," she said in April, adding the route will "transform Peel Region."

Rejection could kill project

With councillors split and citizens lining up to voice their views at tonight's meeting, Jeffrey said this week she isn't optimistic about the outcome but will fight for the LRT.

"I want to win the vote I want to get an LRT for Brampton."

The province has already said that if Brampton rejects the LRT as proposed, they will withdraw funding and likely kill the project.

Residents will have to wait for tonight's city council vote to get a clear answer on the future of transit in the suburbs.

If approved, construction is slated to begin in 2018.

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