Mississauga asks Ontario parties to commit to restoring downtown LRT loop

The Hurontario LRT in Mississauga, recently renamed the Hazel McCallion Line, promises to be a symbol of modernity in the GTA suburb.

The route, funded by the province, will run from Port Credit by the waterfront to Steeles Avenue in the north, stopping 19 times from beginning to end. It is currently estimated that trains will open to the public in 2024.

In 2018, Queen’s Park shortened the route as provincial transit agency Metrolinx removed a three-stop loop around Mississauga’s downtown, citing cost concerns.

Since that day, Mayor Bonnie Crombie has counted restoring that portion of track as a key priority.

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“Without the loop, the future of the downtown, I would say, is in jeopardy — we won’t have the ability to realize the full potential of the area,” she told Global News.

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Ahead of the 2022 Ontario election, Crombie is calling on the province’s party leaders to extend the Hazel McCallion Line back to its original length.

“The funding, when provided, will not only help us realize our climate change targets but hopefully help (get) people out of their cars and attract more business around the downtown area, allowing us to build a complete, walkable city in the downtown,” she said.

Two of Ontario’s four main parties answered that call in their platforms: both the Ontario Liberals and the Ontario NDP pledged in their platform to restore the loop.

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“We’ll build dozens of new transit projects across the province – funding lines and stations that will improve people’s lives and make it easier to use transit, including: extend(ing) the Hurontario LRT to downtown Brampton and restor(ing) the downtown loop as the line was originally planned,” the Liberal platform says.

The NDP platform makes the same pledge.

The PC promise is similar — but not inked in its platform.

In February, at the line’s official renaming ceremony, then-premier Doug Ford promised he wanted to add the loop “sooner than later.”

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“My finance minister and president of treasury are probably shooting me through the screen for saying that right now, but that’s our goal to make sure that we finish the loop,” he said.

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The promise was not repeated in the 2022 Ontario budget, acting as the party’s campaign document. However, a spokesperson for the PCs said the pledge stood.

“If re-elected, we’ll continue working with our municipal and federal partners to advance opportunities to improve the Hazel McCallion Line, including the Loop expansion,” the party spokesperson said, without providing specifics.

The Ontario Green Party told Global News it supported reinstating the loop.

Crombie said the goal of the Hurontario LRT, including its downtown loop, was to support “long-term economic development” and climate goals.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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