By: Laura Steiner
“The timing of the Milton all-day Go line is in the post-25 year horizon,” Halton Region’s Planning Director Ron Glenn told the members of Halton Region’s Planning and Public Works Committee. The news came at the monthly meeting February 8, 2017.
Glenn delivered the information following a meeting with Metrolinx Senior Staff. Plans for full-day two-way GO service were initially scheduled by 2041. A 2010 Benefits Case Analysis forecast the line would potentially make $7.6 million after operating costs by 2021, increasing to $22.3 million by 2031.
Halton MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris disputes the 25 year window included in an item in the Champion. “Metrolinx is not aware of any sources that would lead to the information that’s posted in the article. We are still working towards better service on the Milton Go line,” Naidoo-Harris said in an email statement. Metrolinx’s “The Big Move” is scheduled to last until 2041.
One of the problems is track ownership. Canada-Pacific Rail (CP Rail) own the Milton line, and it’s considered one of the company’s more profitable. The provincial government will not act without agreement with CP. “We have consistently said an agreement with freight rail partners must be secured before this level of service will become a reality,” the statement said.
Regional & Local Councillor Colin Best realizes the issues in making this a reality. “I understand the Metrolinx has a number of challenges on the Milton Line between negotiating with CP Rail for a viable schedule for both freight and passenger traffic, as well as the infrastructure challenges around the Streetsville GO station, but I believe the meeting Chair Carr referred to having Metrolinx, CP, MTO, Infrastructure, Regional and Local staff’s can work out acceptable alternatives to give Milton and Cambridge the service they need now and in the future,” he said in an email statement.
Growth Driving Need for Transit
Milton is considered one of the Province’s Places To Grow. The population is projected to reach 230,000 by 2031. 2017 could be a big year for growth. 119 building permits were issued last month. Approximately 1500 new homes could be built this year.
The province is trying to improve service. “We are in the midst of a 10-year plan to transform the GO rail network to provide faster, and more frequent GO train service.” The improvements include adding 15-minute peak-period service along the Milton line throughout the morning, and afternoon rush hour. “With more frequent service between Milton, Mississauga, Toronto and all stops along the way, customers will have more ways to connect to work, home, and everything in between,” Naidoo-Harris said.
There are currently no projects listed on Metrolinx’s website for Milton or Halton Region.