Category Archives for "Latest News"

VIA Train #73 at Windsor, 23 March 2016
Apr 24

New Passenger Transportation Policy Shift for Southwestern Ontario

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News

Ontario’s Budget 2019 confirmed a major passenger transportation policy shift for Southwestern Ontario. The Province has paused capital funding for High Speed Rail and is actively exploring opportunities to enhance train speeds and service levels on existing railway corridors, as well as opportunities for inter-community bus services or other transit solutions that better support the immediate needs of SW Ontario. A transportation plan will be brought forward by fall, 2019.

Transport Action Ontario strongly supports this new approach. We have long advocated for High Performance Rail – incremental improvement of passenger rail service on existing corridors, plus improved bus feeder service.  We look forward to the public consultation process that forms part of the new plan development.

A newspaper article speaking to the new direction was published in the London Free Press on April 19.  It quoted Transport Action Ontario director Terry Johnson extensively.  Here is a link to the article:

High-speed rail halted, but advocates still pushing for better train service

 

Apr 07

Cost-Effective Surface Subway for Scarborough – “Smart Spur”

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Press Releases and Open Letters , Urban Transit

As many readers will know, transit planning in Toronto took a turn in March with the Province releasing two letters on its priority transit expansion projects.  This included revising the one-stop Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) to three stops.  Clearly this change in direction will require study, causing impacts to schedule and cost.

Transport Action Ontario has long expressed concerns about the SSE.  We have long advocated that the Province study “Smart Spur”, a new electrified GO line branching east from the existing GO Stouffville corridor, as a cost-effective alternative with many advantages.

As studies on the SSE are apparently being reopened, we took the opportunity to remind the Province of the Smart Spur alternative. 

Our open letter of April 3, 2019 can be viewed here TAO-SmartSpur2019-04

Smart Spur was originally proposed in our 2013 report on Regional Express Rail  

 

Mar 27

VIA high Frequency Rail (HFR) Project not part of 2019 Federal Budget, but Continues to be Evaluated

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News

The Federal Government released its 2019 Budget on March 19. There had been expectations that the budget would contain a decision on the fate of VIA Rail Canada’s $4B+ High Frequency Rail (HFR) project. As discussed in our statement of October, 2018, posted on this website, this project envisions new dedicated trackage between Toronto-Ottawa (using the partially abandoned Havelock line) and between Montreal-Quebec (using north shore trackage accessed through the Mt. Royal tunnel), while improving the schedule on existing Lakeshore and South-shore routes.

Our October statement noted that the Federal Government was evaluating this and other proposals to add passenger rail capacity in this corridor. We urged the Federal Government to move forward promptly and commit to boosting passenger rail frequencies, speeds and on-time performance in this corridor.

In contrast to the expectations, the Federal Budget was silent on HFR. However, in a March 20 article in the Globe and Mail, Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne is quoted as saying “this is a project that is important from Quebec to Windsor . so we keep on working with VIA Rail” and that a range of options are being considered. Transport Minister Marc Garneau stated that the Government continues to study VIA Rail’s plan, including how HFR could work with the Montreal light rail project to both share the Mt Royal tunnel, and that funding could flow through the recently created Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Transport Action Canada is hopeful that improved passenger rail service in the corridor will be announced in the near future, with VIA Rail’s proposal enjoying cross-party support. In the meantime, we continue to celebrate the federal approval in December of nearly $1-billion to replace VIA Rail’s aging corridor fleet, as this is a necessary first step to any service improvement

Mar 10

Premier Ford speaks on bringing back Passenger Rail Service to Northern Ontario

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario

During a visit to Muskoka Region on March 1, 2019, Premier Ford spoke about his pledge to bring full passenger rail service back to Northern Ontario.  As covered in Muskokaregion.com, the Premier said he had not forgotten about that commitment, and that “we make sure we keep our promises” and “we’re doing everything we can to make sure it’s sustainable – unlike the last time – and we offer passenger rail to the people of the north”.

 

Transport Action Ontario looks forward to the upcoming Provincial Budget in April, where we hope to see a financial commitment to passenger rail to Northern Ontario.

 

The Muskokaregion.com article can be viewed here:

MuskokaRegion2019-03-07pg1 MuskokaRegion2019-03-07pg2

 

Feb 07

Building upon the Community Transportation Grant Funding

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Press Releases and Open Letters , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario warmly welcomes the Ontario government’s release of $30 million in Community Transportation Grant funding on Friday, January 25th 2019. The investment represents the first tangible step toward restoring inter-community bus services in Ontario since earlier cuts by numerous Ontario bus providers.

This funding, which follows on from $3 million in pilot project funding provided to 22 communities by the previous government, will provide restored and new services that will make a significant difference to the lives of citizens in many smaller communities that have been without any public bus services for six years or longer.

Transport Action Ontario has sent a letter to Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek congratulating him on this announcement and identifying several other issues with intercommunity buses that need resolution.  Our letter can be viewed here:    TAO-MTOCommTransport2019-02

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