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Ontario regional council OKs LRT plan


At a meeting yesterday, the Region of Waterloo’s council approved a plan to build a light-rail transit (LRT) system from Conestoga Mall in the City of Waterloo, Ontario, to the Ainslie Street Terminal in the city of Cambridge, Ontario.

Council members also approved the implementation of option “L3” as the first stage of the LRT system, including light rail from Conestoga Mall to Fairview Park Mall. The council directed staff members to pursue a regional development legislative amendment to help fund the LRT project. Construction on the first stage is slated to begin in 2014 and conclude in 2017.

LRT is a key part of the region’s plan to accommodate significant population and employment growth over the next 20 years, council members said in a prepared statement. The region includes the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, and townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich. Light rail previously was identified as a major catalyst to support downtown revitalization and control urban sprawl, council members said.

The decision to approve the LRT system “is one more critical element in the region’s integrated approach to planning for a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable community,” said Mike Murray, the Region of Waterloo’s chief administrative officer. “We look forward to working with the area municipalities, and all our community partners, as we proceed with the implementation of this transformational project.”

To expedite the system’s second stage from Fairview Park Mall to the Ainslie Street Terminal, the council directed staff members to begin a project assessment by 2014; acquire property; pursue additional federal and provincial funding; explore the location of a future multi-modal transit facility in Cambridge to link to future GO Transit service; and undertake measures to enhance transit ridership throughout the service areas, including the development of incentives for transit-oriented developments.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/16/2011