Stage 2 LRT is a $3.6 billion dollar venture making it the largest infrastructure project in our City’s history. It will no doubt be transformative and change the way that many of us move around the City. That is why it is so important that we get this project right. I believe that community input and feedback is integral to its success. I value all of the hard work that has gone into advancing LRT but feel that this process is being pushed forward too quickly.
On March 1st, I along with my south end colleagues hosted a Stage 2 LRT Public Information Session at the Hunt Club-Riverside Park Community Centre. This was the first time that residents had the opportunity to ask their questions on the complete Stage 2 LRT Plan, outside of the FEDC meeting on February 24th.
The plan contains many new additions that residents should know about, including ridership numbers, project scope, and the request to shut down the o-train for an extended period, a facility that I know many of my residents use every day. Below, I have highlighted what I consider to be key facts that the public should be aware of prior to this report rising to Council.
- In the Stage 2 LRT report it outlines that due to anticipated initial low ridership on the Airport spur link, the City will incur a $4M/annual operating pressure.
- Widening Highway 174 in tandem with implementing the eastern extension of Stage 2 LRT could result in a 9%-10% decrease in ridership on the new line. City staff have not yet publicly stated the impact this decrease will have on transit revenue.
- The transit services affordability framework requires an annual 2.5% fare increase for the next 32 years in order to run future transit services, including LRT.
- A 16 month shutdown of the Trillium Line is recommended to allow all construction, rehabilitation, testing and commissioning to occur on Stage 2 LRT.
The full report can be viewed here. I have also included below a recording of the meeting that took place on March 1st.
I have always been a strong supporter of LRT and believe that this is a good project for our city. That being said, as an elected representative I want to feel confident that I am making the best decisions with your tax dollars and to do so I need hear your comments and feedback directly.
City Council will be making a final decision on this report at the Council meeting on March 8th and I encourage you to send me your thoughts on this significant project for our city.