The MPP for York South-Weston says she supports Metrolinx’s plans to electrify a planned air rail link (ARL) by spring 2017.
Laura Albanese told The York Guardian she’s satisfied with the timeline provided by the transit planning agency to electrify the ARL, which she said would calm the fears of residents in her riding.
“It’s an end to the uncertainty,” said Albanese on Wednesday morning. “The first step is realizing electrification can be a reality.”
The project has attracted criticism from residents living along the Georgetown South rail corridor, who fear the increase in diesel train traffic could lead to significant health problems for them in the future. Those residents want the ARL electrified as soon as it opens in time for the 2015 Pan American Games.
But, in his letter to Albanese, which was sent on Tuesday, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig said the earliest electrification can be implemented is 2017, and only if a provincial environmental assessment and preliminary design and engineering work currently underway is completed on time by late 2014.
Construction would take three years to complete after that, but only if the provincial government approves funding for the estimated $440-million project.
A further challenge is the requirement of completing infrastructure improvements along the Georgetown South track, which are necessary, wrote McCuaig, to finish the ARL by 2015.
Next June, Metrolinx must present to the premier an investment strategy to fund several transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that have been announced as part of the province’s Big Move transit expansion plan.
Albanese suggested the federal government should also play a role in paying for the ARL.
“Whenever you have co-operation between various levels of government, it’s better for the community,” she said.