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GTAA proposes major transit hub at Pearson airport

The GTAA's proposed transit hub at Pearson Airport, Feb. 7, 2017. TWITTER/GTAA

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport could soon be home to a major transit hub.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) unveiled plans on Tuesday to create a multi-modal transportation centre at the country’s largest airport.

The hub would connect regional and local transit lines — including the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Finch West LRT and SmartTrack — as well as the UP Express and a high-speed rail line to Kitchener.

Howard Eng, president and CEO of the GTAA, said it’s time to catch up with other major cities across the globe.

“By the time New York and Chicago were the size that Toronto is today, they each had at least two major transportation hubs,” he said in a statement.

“Now is the time to ensure that better transit options are in place; otherwise we risk squandering the significant opportunities that are part and parcel of the exciting growth that the airport, the city and the region are experiencing.”

Mayor John Tory said he’s very excited about the plan, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

“The devil becomes in the details, which is … where is it going to be? Who’s going to pay for it?” Tory said. “I think the very fact we’re having the discussion now is very positive and we should now move to that next stage of deliberations.”

According to the GTAA, more than 300,000 people work in the area around Pearson — which includes Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto.

“Location matters and Toronto Pearson’s close proximity to Brampton gives us a definite advantage when it comes to attracting global companies to our city,” Brampton mayor Linda Jeffrey said in a statement.

“A major multi-modal transit centre serving the western GTA, located at our airport will provide a critical connection between Brampton and the rest of the world.”

The proposed location for the hub is on Airport Road across from terminals 1 and 3, with access from Highways 409 and 427 and from Airport Road.

The goal is to have the hub completed by 2027.