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  1. Union Pearson Express

    Some news I found about the Airport Link and plans for GO's expansion of the Georgetown corridor. Interesting to note, that while the proposed Blue 22 is ONE option (and the most likely to be built), the Environmental Assessment will study other options for the Union Station-Pearson Airport Link including... - Express buses along the Gardiner and the 427 to the Airport - Rapid Transit Serivce along GO's Lakeshore corridor connecting to a new Monorail up the 427 to the Airport - Turning the rail corridor through Weston into a 23km long Subway line Here's the news article... GO insists all air-rail options on table Route that would cut through Weston only one scenario CLARK KIM Oct. 4, 2006 Recent public meetings over the air-rail link connecting Union Station to Pearson Airport seem to have done little to convince local residents that GO Transit is seriously considering alternatives other than a direct route cutting through Weston. GO Transit, which organized the meetings as part of the comprehensive environmental assessment (EA) it agreed to undertake last year after much public pressure, will now submit to the Ministry of Environment a draft on all the options to be studied. The document, referred to as the terms of reference, will also specify the evaluation methods and selection criteria that GO Transit plans to use to ultimately select the preferred route for the airport link. But Mike Sullivan, chair of the Weston Community Coalition, said many residents felt the environmental study won't fairly determine the best route if transit officials don't factor in all the environmental impacts such as noise and pollution of all the options. "The fix seems to be in, in the way they designed the terms of reference," said Sullivan, noting the main factor being considered seems to be the cost of the project. "What people came away with is that it will be hard for any other route to displace Weston (as an alternative)." That's because the shortest and most direct route is through the CN Weston rail corridor, Sullivan explained. His request to have the public view the draft terms of reference before they're handed over to the province won't likely be granted. He argued if the document isn't changed drastically, the environmental assessment will be flawed. GO Transit had originally studied the expansion of its Georgetown line along the Weston corridor to handle more commuters coming from Peel and Halton regions into the city. What upset local residents, however, was that the proposed air-rail link using the same rail corridor would result in the community being cut in half. New tracks would be added to accommodate the expected 200 privately owned Blue 22 diesel-run trains travelling back and forth, catering only to the well-off business commuters downtown. While agreeing there's a perception that cost is the primary determining factor, GO Transit corridor manager Imants Hausmanis said all the alternatives will be evaluated in a fair manner. Other routes to be considered include providing express bus service between Union station and the airport on the Gardiner Expressway and Hwy. 427 or rapid transit service using the GO Lakeshore line and up Hwy. 427 to the airport (monorail). "It (cost) is an important criteria," he noted. "But it is by no means the preeminent criteria." Hausmanis added that environmental impacts will be "stringently looked at" during the actual environmental assessment, which can only take place after the terms of reference are submitted to the minister of environment. "That will happen at the end of October," he confirmed. No more meetings are scheduled before then. But the public will be consulted again by the Ministry of the Environment through a mandated process before it determines whether to approve the draft terms of reference, approve the document with certain conditions, or reject it altogether. Looking further into the future, Hausmanis explained once the environmental assessment is complete, GO Transit will make a recommendation after another four to five rounds of public consultation on what it believes to be the best route. The Ministry of Environment then makes the decision to accept or reject that recommendation. The best scenario, Sullivan insisted, is to turn the Weston corridor into a subway path, which would serve everyone in Toronto therefore generating revenue. The 23-kilometre subway line would also cost just as much as the 6-kilometre expansion to York Region since the rail corridor along Weston already exists and no expropriation of land is necessary.
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