Friday, June 17, 2011

Waterloo Region, Canada, votes for light rail

Tranzwatching in Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada

Light rail in North America to date has mainly been confined to larger cities well up in the millions in terms of metropolitan population [US cities are often barely amalgamated and typically include multiple boroughs, counties and sub cities in what is essentially one contiguous urban area identified by the central hub city name].

In the last thirty years light rail has been built in Seattle, Portland, Houston, Phoenix, Austin, Charlotte, Norfolk, Sacramento, Edmonton, Calgary, Buffalo  - none less than a  million residents in metropolitan population and some of these home city to 3 or 4 million.

On Wednesday night, the Waterloo Regional Council in Ontario, Canada voted 9-2 to begin building a single light Rail line, believed to be about 14km in length between Waterloo and Kitchener, supported by an adapted bus rapid transit system to Cambridge. The line will cost $818 million and implementation will begin in 2014

The decision by the tri-city urban region of Waterloo-Kitchener-Cambridge which has only 450,000 population makes this the smallest North American city since Calgary in 1981 to commit to building light rail.

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