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Ontario extending Hazel McCallion LRT into downtown Mississauga and Brampton

The Ontario government will be extending the Hazel McCallion LRT further into Mississauga and Brampton.

In a letter to Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster, which was obtained by CTV News Toronto, Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria directed the agency to “bring forward a plan to build the downtown Mississauga loop and an extension into downtown Brampton.”

This directive, Sarkaria said, came directly from the premier. The minister noted in the Jan. 17 letter that while the Hazel McCallion LRT is not yet complete, it is making “strong progress” and the addition of these extra stops would allow for greater connections between the two cities.

The government expects a tight turnaround, asking for an Initial Business Case to be submitted no later than Feb. 5. This gives Metrolinx just over two weeks to consult with municipalities and stakeholders, determine anticipated costs, and provide analysis on route options.

A spokesperson for Sarkaria told CTV News Toronto in a statement the government has been “steadfast in getting shovels in the ground.”

“Peel is one of Canada’s fastest-growing regions. Our government will continue to invest historic amounts in connected transportation there – and across the province – so that Ontarians can spend less time commuting and more time at home, doing what matters most to them.”

The currently 18-kilometre line was supposed to open in 2024 and is expected to provide a rapid transit connection from Port Credit GO Station in Mississauga to the Brampton Gateway Terminal. Nineteen stops, many of which connect to other major transit systems within the Peel Region, have already been planned.

The line was named after former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, who held the position for 36 years until 2014, when Bonnie Crombie took up the mantle.

‘THE RIGHT THING’

Speaking at an unrelated news conference at Queen’s Park Thursday, Crombie said the original LRT plans included a loop in Mississauga, but that it was dropped by the Ford government due to a “cost consideration.”

“I’m delighted that they are doing the right thing and considering putting the downtown loop back in the LRT,” the new Ontario Liberal Leader told reporters.

Crombie noted the LRT is expected to be completed in the next 18 months so “it should be moved upon quickly.”

It’s unclear why the government is deciding to add the extra stops at this point in the construction of the LRT. Crombie, who resigned as mayor of Mississauga on June 12 to take up the position of provincial party leader, said she couldn’t speak to the premier’s motives.

CTV News Toronto has reached out to Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown’s office and Metrolinx for comment.

This is a developing news story. More to come.

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