Toronto – We need to build regionally-integrated transit and any plan to undertake new transit initiatives in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) must consider a role for Toronto Pearson Airport, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said today.
Mayor Crombie made the comments during the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s 2016 Aviation Summit. Mayor Crombie participated in multiple panels that included elected officials and industry experts, Toronto Pearson CEO Howard Eng and Leslie Woo, Metrolinx’s Chief Planning Officer.
“It starts by thinking differently about Pearson Airport,” Mayor Crombie said. “Pearson is more than just an airport – it is a regional and national asset that must be utilized.” Mayor Crombie added that “Pearson Airport is a hub of economic development, job creation, international trade, travel and transportation.”
“All levels of government need to incorporate Pearson Airport into their public policy and strategic planning goals.”
“Whether directly or indirectly, all roads and rails must lead to Toronto Pearson,” Mayor Crombie said, citing Mississauga’s efforts to drive forward new regionally-integrated transit plans like the Hurontario Light Rail Transit (LRT), along with the ongoing development of the MiWay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Transitway.
“In 2017, the Renforth Gateway BRT station is scheduled to open. The station will help make travel to Pearson Airport and the Bloor-Danforth subway line easier via Highway 427,” Mayor Crombie said. “Our vision for all-day two-way Go Train service on the Milton and Kitchener GO Train lines with the Missing Link plan will further move people throughout the Western GTA and will allow for greater access to the airport.”
“In our conversations with Mayor Tory and the City of Toronto, we are exploring opportunities that will one day see SmartTrack further connected to transit that leads to Pearson Airport.”
“We support a vision that reimagines Toronto Pearson as the Union Station of the GTA West and Mississauga is ready to do its part to make this happen,” Mayor Crombie said.
Beyond transportation, Mayor Crombie singled out the importance of Pearson to Mississauga and the GTA’s overall economy. Pearson Airport is Mississauga’s largest employer (41,100 people). The aerospace industry is responsible for 25,000 jobs in Mississauga.
“Put simply, what is good for Pearson Airport’s economic prospects are good for Mississauga’s own economy,” Mayor Crombie said, adding that “we chose the arrival gates of Pearson to launch the Mississauga International Partnership Program Committee (MIPP) – a new working group to attract and retain foreign-direct investment.”
“Each day a wealth of economic opportunity flows from Canada’s largest airport into our community. It is critical that we position ourselves to compete effectively in the global market place.”
Mayor Crombie concluded that “as we look toward the future, with plans to build a more thriving and promising Mississauga and GTA, the success of Pearson Airport is central to transit planning, region-building and unleashing new economic development opportunities.”