A multi-billion-dollar plan that could see new LRT lines stretch to communities outside the city 40 years from now appeared to get rave reviews from community groups and residents during a public hearing at City Hall yesterday.

Administration is proposing a plan that could see many of the lines needed to connect Edmonton to Sherwood Park and St. Albert using low-floor LRT vehicles — a technology that has been around since the 1980s.

The low-floor tracks would be easier to integrate lines in mature neighbourhoods that would allow for more community stops that could include stops along curbsides, said a city report.

Christopher Spencer, a representative with the Grovenor Community League, says the new tracks would encourage more people to take transit since “it will be built in a civilized way.”

“This is a substantial improvement over current practices,” said Spencer to the city’s transportation committee during a hearing that included 11 speakers.

“Curbside stops will cost hundreds of millions of dollars less than building fancy stations. It will integrate into communities much more comfortably, putting stops where there is demand in corridors where people live.”

The city is envisioning lines be placed in the west, southwest, northeast, St. Albert and Sherwood Park within four decades from now with a price tag that could hover around $9 billion.

It’s expected that wintin a century, 499,000 riders would take advantage of transit services daily — a lot higher than the city’s current 53,000 riders, according to a city report.

City council is expected to discuss the plan next week.

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