Thursday, May 08, 2014

Waterloo Region weighs LRT for Cambridge

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Region of Waterloo officials in Ontario, moving beyond a current plan to divide public transportation development into light rail transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), have begun moving ahead to extend LRT for the entire service area.

At a regional council meeting Wednesday, May 7, 2014, councillors approved a motion to apply for C$2.5 million (US$2.3 million) in funding from the federal government's New Building Canada Plan to launch a study for more LRT, specifically for Cambridge, Ont.

Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig reiterated his municipality's unhappiness with the current arrangement. "The issue for us in Cambridge is we don't control transit so we simply have to fall in line in terms of the pronouncements that are coming down from regional council," Craig said at the meeting.

An environmental assessment and business case for Phase 2 of light rail was to start in 2017, with construction to follow in 2019. LRT development currently is under way for Kitchener and Waterloo, Ont., with service scheduled to begin in 2017.

Phase I of Ion LRT, a C$1.9 billion (US$1.7 billion) design, build, operate, and maintenance (DBOM) plan, was awarded last March to the GrandLInq consortium. Ion will employ Bombardier Flexity Freedom light rail vehicles, similart to those being used on Toronto's outer LRT (non-streetcar) lines.