Bruce McCuaig, the CEO of Metrolinx, said that “the earliest electrification [of the Air Rail Link] could be electrified is by 2017” in response to a letter from Laura Albanese, our MPP. Albanese wrote the letter to pin down the transit agency and get some clarification after confusing comments.
McCuaig says that Metrolinx must complete an environmental assessment and the Georgetown construction before proceeding with electrification; that should be done by 2014. The consultant who recently said–shockingly–that electrification could have been completed by the Pan Am games in 2015 did not take those facts into account, and was speaking “theoretically”, according to McCuaig.
In her press release, Albanese says that the community is “assured of electrification by 2017″ and that McCuaig has given “a firm answer as to when the ARL can realistically be electrified”. I don’t think that we have assurance or a firm answer. McCuaig says, “assuming that approvals and funding were in place… our objective will be to have electric shuttles operating on the ARL by spring 2017.” Those are big assumptions–and an “objective”, not a promise.
McCuaig also responded to City Council’s request that Metrolinx add more stops to make the ARL a decent part of Toronto’s public transit rather than a straight link to the airport. It’s not going to happen, he said; “adding more stations… will increase the total travel time, making it a less attractive option.”