Environment Minister Issues Positive Decision on Metrolinx Study

TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - Metrolinx received the approval with conditions announced today by Minister of the Environment John Gerretsen of the Environmental Assessment conducted for the Georgetown South Service Expansion and Union-Pearson Rail Link project.

"We are pleased that Minister Gerretsen has approved the environmental assessment with conditions," said Rob Prichard, President and CEO of Metrolinx. "We accept the conditions. They are constructive and consistent with our commitment to mitigate any adverse impacts of the project on the surrounding communities. When completed, the Georgetown South Service Expansion will make a major contribution to improved transit in the Greater Toronto Area, reduced congestion and better air quality."

The Minister placed eighteen conditions on the Georgetown South Service Expansion that address concerns raised by the community about the effect of diesel emissions on human health and air quality. Three highlights are as follows:

    
    -   Trains operated by GO Transit on the Georgetown rail corridor and the
        Union Pearson Rail Link service must use Tier 4 state of the art
        engines when the service expansion begins or as soon as the
        technology is commercially available;

    -   A significant human health and mitigation plan must be put in place
        to address any remaining risks to human health after Tier 4 engines
        are in operation on the line;

    -   An ambient air monitoring and reporting plan must be put in place
        with monitoring locations situated within the boundaries of the
        Georgetown South Corridor or within the adjacent community.
    

Metrolinx will comply fully with all of the conditions outlined in the MOE approval including the use of Tier 4 locomotives. Tier 4 compliant locomotives will reduce emissions of hydrocarbons, particulates and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the corridor. As an example, emissions of nitrogen oxides from these engines will be reduced by more than three quarters from the original estimate.

This service expansion is a critical step towards getting people out of cars onto public transit. The public will begin to experience improvements in frequency of service on the Georgetown line in 2015.

The Georgetown expansion is part of the GO Transit Rail Improvement Program (GO TRIP), a $1 billion-dollar expansion initiative funded by the federal and provincial governments and local municipalities through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund. The Union-Pearson link component of the project will be financed and operated by a private sector operator.

Metrolinx is a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario. For more information, visit our website www.metrolinx.com

Disponible en français

    
    Backgrounder

                   Georgetown South Service Expansion and
                       Union-Pearson Rail Link Project

    The proposed transit expansion will bring vastly improved service to the
west-end of Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. The project will build the
infrastructure needed to run more frequent and convenient GO Transit service.
It will also accommodate a much needed rail connection between Pearson
International Airport and Union Station.

    Improvements include:

    -   Adding approximately 20 km of new track between HWY 427 and Bathurst
        Street to accommodate additional trains;

    -   Upgrading the GO Weston Stop to a full Weston GO Station for GO and
        Union-Pearson trains;

    -   Improving 18 bridges including new grade separations at Strachan
        Avenue and Denison Road to improve traffic flow and safety in the
        local area;

    -   Maintaining Weston community connectivity by adding a GO rail tunnel
        in Weston so that Church and King Streets are kept open;

    -   Modifications to the Bloor GO/Dundas TTC station to accommodate both
        GO and Union-Pearson trains;

    -   A new Strachan Avenue bridge design that minimizes the impact to the
        adjacent community and provides beautification opportunities;

    -   Working with cycling advocates to extend the West Toronto Rail Path
        along the rail line where possible and connecting to other cycling
        paths along the corridor in the future; and

    -   Infrastructure design that will enable electrification in the future.

    Metrolinx is a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario. For more
information visit our website www.metrolinx.com.

    Disponible en français
    

SOURCE Metrolinx

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Jacquie Menezes, Senior Associate, Public Affairs and Media, Metrolinx, Phone: (416) 874-5923, Cell: (647) 289-4523, jacquie.menezes@metrolinx.com, www.metrolinx.com

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