The Toronto Region Board of Trade (the Board) is voicing it’s support for Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s (GTAA) Union Station West proposal in a new report, Infrastructure Options to Improve the Movement of Goods in Canada’s Innovation Corridor. The Board’s endorsement of the project adds to growing support from industry stakeholders, the region’s municipalities and public opinion.
The sixth report in the Board’s Movement of Goods series identifies Union Station West—a proposed multimodal transit hub near Toronto Pearson International Airport—as a priority infrastructure project that would reduce congestion, increase supply chain efficiency and support export-driven business in the Corridor.
“Currently, Toronto’s downtown Union Station is the only major ground mobility hub in the Corridor—an economic zone contributing one-fifth of Canada’s GDP,” said Jan De Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade. “As Canada’s second-largest employment zone and a growing global trading centre, Toronto Pearson is ideally suited for a much-needed second regional transit hub. Union Station West would benefit shippers across the Corridor by shifting automobile commuters off 400-series highways onto transit, enhancing access to the region’s employment areas and further transforming the area into a multimodal hub for air, rail and trucking.”
In April 2018, GTAA and Metrolinx announced they would work together to explore potential connections to Toronto Pearson, including the Kitchener GO, Finch LRT, and Eglinton Crosstown lines. A September 2018 telephone survey revealed 90 per cent of Brampton residents and 85 per cent of Mississauga residents expressed support for a second regional transit hub at Toronto Pearson.
“In Durham Region, we understand the importance of reliable, integrated transit systems to reduce road congestion and drive economic competitiveness,” said John Henry, Durham Regional Chair and CEO. “Union Station West will help support the connection of residents across the entire greater Toronto region to jobs and opportunities, including those along the 407 east employment lands.”
“Connecting the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor through fast, frequent rail links is critical to the long-term economic success for businesses and the quality of life for residents in Kitchener and across the region,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “The GTAA’s Union Station West proposal is a vital project that will connect the corridor and alleviate congestion to help people and goods move throughout the region and beyond.”
Union Station West was one of three priority projects selected by the Board based on input from the Corridor’s business community, through roundtables, committee meetings and a survey conducted at the Board’s 4th Annual Transportation Summit: Uploading Opportunities. Three projects were identified under the following categories:
▪ A Quick Win Project: the Milton Logistics Hub, a $250 million privately funded infrastructure investment on CN-owned land in Halton Hills requiring no public funding to proceed.
▪ Long-Term Priority Multi-Modal Projects requiring funding, but also prime candidates for funding from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank: GTAA’s Union Station West and Smart Signal Rollout, a low-cost, high impact initiative.
“While these proposed projects come with significant price tags, the cost of doing nothing and letting chronic road congestion persist is even greater,” De Silva said. “While nearly twice as many commuters travel across the region’s Northern Arc than to downtown Toronto, only seven per cent of those trips are made on public transit, meaning worsening gridlock on the 401 near Toronto Pearson slows our productivity to a crawl. By investing strategically in new infrastructure, making better use of existing infrastructure, improving coordination of transportation and land use, and tackling our urban challenges, we can build a regional transportation system for the future.”