New city report outlines 'hybrid' rapid transit plan for London
Published Wednesday, November 4, 2015 12:20PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, November 4, 2015 6:31PM EST
The Shift Rapid Transit Update lays out what could be the largest infrastructure project in London's history.
Currently, London is the largest city in Canada without rapid transit in place.
The new report recommends a 'hybrid' rapid transit design, that includes light rail on the north and east route to Masonville Place and Fanshawe College and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on the south and west routes to White Oaks Mall and the Oxford and Wonderland intersection.
Implementing the plan comes with an estimated cost of $850 to $900 million, with city hall offering $125 million towards the project.
That funding would be raised over 20 years from development charges placed on new construction projects. The province and Ottawa would be asked to cover the remaining 85 per cent.
"I am going to have to be convinced that we need a hybrid system because up until now I believed or largely thought that we were going to look at a Bus Rapid System," says Councillor Phil Squire.
As part of the plan, two L-shaped routes would meet at Clarence and King streets, while the route through the Western University campus has yet to be finalized.
The report, with preliminary recommendations from staff that include the hybrid format and route, will be discussed by council on Tuesday.
Council will then be asked to make this plan the option discussed at upcoming public meetings.
Three other options -- lower cost bus rapid transit systems and a more expensive full light rail transit system were also considered but didn't receive staff's recommendation following an environmental assessment and public input which favoured the hybrid choice.
"This option is not out of nowhere. This option is through an important assessment process as well as consultation with the public," says Councillor Josh Morgan.
In early 2016, councillors will be asked to approve a final design for submission to the province for funding through the 'Moving Ontario Forward' program.
In a statement, Deputy Premier and London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews tells CTV News, "I know Mayor Matt Brown and his councillors have been working hard to improve transit for Londoners and I look forward to hearing more about the city of London's plans as they go through the process."
The plan, if approved, is expected to be implemented over a 10-year period.