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In June 2003, Regional Council unanimously adopted the Regional Growth Management Strategy (RGMS), a long-term strategic framework that identifies where, when and how future residential and employment growth will be accommodated.

RGMS planning studies revealed that road expansions alone cannot manage the Region's growth. Instead, land use and transportation policies will help promote reurbanization and greater use of public transit.  Rapid transit is identified in the RGMS and in the Provincial Places to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, as a key catalyst to support downtown revitalization and manage urban sprawl.

Project Milestones

  • May 2004 - the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the Region of Waterloo jointly announced funding of up to $2.5 million for the Region of Waterloo Growth Management Strategy, Transit Initiative Technical Studies and an Individual Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Rapid Transit Initiative.
  • January 2006 - the Rapid Transit Environmental Assessment begins.
  • June 2009 - Regional Council approves light rail transit (LRT) as the preferred technology for the Region of Waterloo's rapid transit system, subject to funding from the Provincial and Federal government. 
  • 2010 the Provincial and Federal governments announce their funding commitments. Staff begin a review of the financial implications of the rapid transit plan.
  • Fall 2010 - concerns are raised about the affordability of the rapid transit project, in terms of the Region's contribution. Staff begin an objective review identifying a rapid transit project that is affordable to the Region and that provides best value to the community. Staff consider 11 implementation options, as described in the Planning and Works Committee report.
  • March 1 to 10, 2010 - Plans to share information and seek public input on the new rapid transit implementation options include a series of public consultation centres, booths at malls  and a live, interactive webcast.
  • April 12, 2011 - After considering public input, Regional staff present a preliminary preferred option to the Planning and Works Committee.
  • April to May, 2011- The public has an opportunity to provide input through a second series of public consultation centres and information booths.
  • June 15, 2011 - After further consideration of public input, staff present the recommended rapid transit implementation option to Regional Council. Regional Council approve LRT as the preferred technology with a staged approach allowing the Region to match transit technology with current and projected ridership, and development potential in a cost effective manner.
  • November 22, 2011 The Transit Project Assessment Process Notice of Commencement is issued.
  • February 7, 2012 Regional Council approves the project procurement and delivery option.
  • March 16, 2012 The Transit Project Assessment Process Notice of Completion of Environmental Project Report is issued.
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