Posted June 29, 2009
As We Grow

Light Rail Transit approved by Regional Council

Waterloo Region - Light Rail Transit (LRT) was approved by Regional Council Wednesday June 24, 2009 as the preferred technology for the Region of Waterloo’s rapid transit system.

“In future years, people will look on this decision as doing more than anything else to manage growth and shape Waterloo Region,” said Ken Seiling, Regional Chair. “Our ability to cope with growth and ensure our future quality of life will depend on providing a transportation system that encourages intensification, limits urban sprawl to protect our agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands, and avoids gridlock by providing alternatives to the dependence on cars as we grow.”

The rapid transit system will provide a long-term, environmentally sustainable solution to help manage the Region’s future growth and transportation needs and help build a vibrant and sustainable community.

The project will be implemented in a staged approach that will allow the Region to match transit technology with current and projected ridership and development potential in a cost effective manner. Stage 1 of the approved rapid transit route consists of light rail transit running from Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener and adapted bus rapid transit from Fairview Park Mall to the Ainslie Street transit terminal in Cambridge. Stage 2 consists of continuing light rail transit from Fairview Park Mall to the Ainslie Street terminal, which will follow the completion of Stage 1 as closely as possible.

The approved rapid transit system will cost an estimated $790 million. Council also allocated $1 million annually for an initial 10-year period to implement transit supportive strategies to build transit ridership in Cambridge.

“The Region has undertaken an unprecedented program of public consultation on this issue over the last four years,” said Mike Murray, Chief Administrative Officer. “We have heard from thousands of people and organizations, and their input has helped shape this project. Rapid Transit will help manage growth, move people, and make our community healthier and more sustainable for decades to come.”

The Region will now proceed to negotiate funding agreements with provincial and federal governments. When funding is secured, final design will be undertaken in 2010. Construction of LRT is scheduled to launch in 2012, with the system opening late in 2014. Adapted bus rapid transit in Cambridge could start as early as 2011.

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