London Transit plans for $120m in remaining rapid transit funding

“You must use it or lose it”

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Killing rapid transit in north and west London left $120 million in government cash on the table. The Heat is now ready to spend it before it’s gone, with a pitch for a new London Transit headquarters that would eat up most, if not all, of the funding to replace the aging Highbury Avenue complex.

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A new deadline is approaching to decide which projects will benefit from the remaining public transit funding distributed by the provincial and federal governments. In order to meet an accelerated schedule, cities must alert Queen’s Park of projects they wish to fund by next week, July 29.

Submissions should be sent to Ottawa in March 2023.

Two city politicians who are often at odds in council chambers said it made sense to ask for money to rebuild the transit hub, which is now over 70 years old.

You must use it or lose it,” District 4 Com. Jesse Helmer, who also chairs the London Transit Commission, said. “WWe have to go on and use this money.

The reconstruction, expansion and construction of a new facility on Highbury is a very significant project for the entire transit system. . . and that also contributes to electrification,” he said.

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  1. Breaking down the key elements of London Transit's plan for 2022

    Breaking down the key elements of London Transit’s plan for 2022

  2. London Transit is eyeing more service on the busiest routes by next year

    London Transit is eyeing more service on the busiest routes by next year

London City Hall staff recommend asking for money to rebuild the London Transit Commission’s house to allow for the growth of the bus system and pave the way for the electrification of the fleet, advice for change has already approved.

New charging systems and a larger garage will be needed to accommodate both diesel and electric buses during the transition years.

London has a total of around $170 million remaining in the transit pot, when the municipal contribution needed to tap into senior government funding is included. It was originally for the $500 million bus rapid transit system which was later spun off by the council, instead funding three of the five stages and a purse of other transit improvements such as bus shelters, pavements and parts of Adelaide’s underpass. .

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Although applications for the rest of the money are due now, construction is not expected to be completed until 2027.

“EThere will always be more public transport needs than there is money available. Always”, dsaid Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan. He voted to kill off the western branch of BRT, but said he would consider any options for improving public transport in west London that emerged from the town hall’s new ‘mobility master plan’.

This plan will not be completed until the end of 2023, but will outline the transport projects needed in London for the next few decades, from new roads to cycle paths to public transport.

The Council must respect this process which will include extensive public consultation, Morgan said. This makes the transit headquarters project a natural choice for the cash available today.

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This is a good option for us to consider as it is a known need, aligns with current board directions and allows us to complete the master mobility planning process , which will have a future source of federal funding later.

The Highbury Avenue and Brydges Street headquarters, a manufacturing plant that was converted into a transit building in 1972, is nearing the end of its life. A seven-phase, $161 million reconstruction was approved by the commission more than three years ago.

Its replacement allows London to electrify its fleet – another costly long-term project – and boost public transport in other ways, Helmer and Morgan said.

But asking the upper government for money also means accepting that those remaining funds will not build rapid transit routes in the northern and western parts of the city. Helmer suggested as recently as last month that the board should “review this soon and carry on’, during a debate on new housing in west London.

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He now seems resigned to the fact that the west leg will not be approved this season.

“The majority of the board disagrees with that,” said Helmer, who is not running for re-election.

But he warned the cost would only escalate.

“This project is not going to get any easier or cheaper over time. The need for this project does not go away simply because we do not apply for this funding.

Asked about the need for better public transport in west London, Morgan – who represents the North West of Ward 7 but is now a mayoral candidate – said it was an “area where there is a real need and limited dollars,” noting that other improvements have already been made using previous rounds of funding.

It’s also politically convenient for Morgan not to wade back into a controversial bus rapid transit debate, which has divided Londoners, just as he embarks on a mayoral campaign.

“We’re probably talking about the good amount of money we have,” he said of the money available and the cost of building the Highbury facility.

“We can pull this off the books and be ready to go and prepare well for the conclusion of the mobility master plan,” including any urgent need for public transport in north and west London, Morgan said.

The staff recommendation is forwarded to council, sitting in committee, next Wednesday.


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