Our colleagues in Southwestern Ontario, InterCity Rail, have issued a notice about the Environmental Assessment study underway for High Speed Rail. Transport Action Ontario is very pleased with this development, as it is consistent with our own advocacy over the years. The notice is pasted below:
Improving rail transportation is a good idea. Let’s look at all the options.
We have been informed by Jeff Yurek, the Minister of Transportation, that the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has been instructed to add alternatives to HSR to the Environmental Assessment.
MTO will now be able to consider alternative modes (possibilities may include GO Transit, VIA Rail and Regional Express Rail) instead of just 250 kph high-speed trains. MTO will also be able to consider alternative routes (possibilities may include the existing CN North and CN South corridors, Highway 401/403/407 transportation corridors, etc.) instead of just the Hydro One right of way between Baden and the southeast corner of London. Reports have stated that the impact on rural communities and farmland will now also be considered.
This does not mean that HSR is dead. What it means is that HSR, as well as other options, must be evaluated by the MTO.
We will continue to closely monitor developments and do whatever we can to provide input to the MTO so that an evidenced-based solution — one that serves the needs of all citizens, communities, and the environment — will be found for passenger rail transportation in southwestern Ontario. We will keep you posted on new developments.