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Dec 18

Statement on Cancellation of Hamilton LRT Project

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

Transport Action Ontario issued the following statement on December 18, 2019 regarding the cancellation of the Hamilton LRT project.


Transport Action Ontario is profoundly disappointed with the Ontario government decision to cancel the Hamilton LRT project. Work had been underway on this project for many years, with over $160 million expended by Metrolinx on design and property acquisition, with more than 60 properties acquired and residents relocated. There are many troubling aspects about this decision.

Without completing the RFP process, the province’s figure of $5 billion (including 30 years of operating costs) is even more of a guesstimate that the previous government’s forecast. Other LRT projects in Ontario have come in at a much lower figure than this. The fact that the government will not release the third-party report that generated the $5 billion figure is also very troubling.

A business-friendly environment for investment and job creation requires political stability and long-term infrastructure planning. Businesses have been making investments in Hamilton for several years based on the promised LRT. This is a slap in the face that will also make businesses think twice about planned investments along other promised transit corridors in the GTA. This cancellation contradicts Ontario’s objective of being “open for business”. 

It is not clear from the Minister whether all the proven benefits of LRT have been fully considered. Downtown air quality in Hamilton would see significant improvement from the reduction of engine emissions, toxic PM2.5 particulates, brake and tire dust. The negative health effects of these airborne compounds in vehicle traffic-dense areas and their heavy burden on health care costs are alarming the health research community. Higher incidence of respiratory diseases and reduced brain function are, they say, a direct result of poor air quality. LRT in Hamilton would help to alleviate this growing problem.

There is a demonstrated need – economically, socially and environmentally – for the Hamilton LRT. Meanwhile the expert panel that reviewed the widely-opposed 413 GTA-West expressway project found that the need for it could not be adequately demonstrated and that tax dollars invested in transit and road alternatives would do more to reduce congestion. That report has now been deleted from the Ministry of Transportation website, and the $5 billion+ project restarted. The government has thus opened itself up to the perception that it has resurrected a known boondoggle at Hamilton’s expense.

Nov 22

Extensive Media Coverage on Return of Passenger Rail to Northern Ontario

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

There has been extensive media coverage recently referencing the return of passenger rail to Northern Ontario and the business case that is currently being developed between Ontario Northland and Metrolinx. The plan is slated to be presented to the Provincial Government for decision making by the end of the year.

Given below are links to recent media articles.

Passenger Rail promise will be fulfilled

Reference to passenger rail transportation proposal and rail solutions for northern Ontario

https://www.northbaynipissing.com/community-story/9706884-trains-planes-and-buses-for-nipissing-on-fedeli-s-2020-to-do-list/

Revival of Passenger Rail from Toronto to Cochrane

https://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/mobile/bringing-buses-and-trains-in-the-north-up-to-speed-1.4683248?cache=?ot=AjaxLayout

Passenger Rail Plan Closed to Being Unveiled

Nov 12

Provincial Assessment of GTA West Highway Corridor Continues

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Latest News

In 2018, the new Ontario government announced it was reviving the Environmental Assessment (EA)  for the GTA West (Highway 413) corridor, proposed to run north of Highway 407 from Vaughan to Milton.  The EA had been stopped by the Liberal Government based on recommendations from an advisory panel in 2017.   Transport Action Ontario participated in the previous EA, emphasizing that existing infrastructure (rail, provincial highways, regional roads) should be expanded to full capacity first.

The 2017 advisory panel report has now been removed from the MTO website, but remains available through the Internet Archive:

https://web.archive.org/web/20190618160500/http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/publications/gta-west-report/index.shtml

The report was extremely thoughtful and comprehensive.  It concluded:

  • Future travel demand is very much more uncertain than when the EA was initiated 10 years ago.  This includes uncertainties in transportation technology (e.g. automated vehicles, shared mobility), economic changes (e-commerce, different manufacturing centres, bigger service economy) and policy changes (climate change mitigation, protection of valuable land, complete communities).  A broad range of scenarios should be modeled.
  • Four specific promising alternatives were modelled and should be considered before committing to a new highway:
    • Consider and prioritize planned and constructed extension and expansion of existing highways
    • Consider congestion pricing (offers much larger travel time saving than GTAW highway)
    • Consider providing truck priority on Highway 407
    • Consider slower growth and more compact land use patterns than assumed in EA, consistent with recent actual growth
  • Framework used in the EA was flawed, resulting in a failure to demonstrate that a new corridor was the only reasonable alternative
  • A preferred planning approach would be to develop a single unified transportation plan for the entire Greater Golden Horseshoe that would align with provincial policies and explicitly consider uncertainty

Despite this recommendation, the previous EA has been revived “as is” and is proceeding with detailed route evaluation.  Public information sessions were held in October.  There is mixed public reaction to the project, with concerns about induced vehicular demand and loss of valuable farm land being paramount.  TAO will consult with other non-government environmental organizations as to next steps.

Oct 20

Guest Speaker: John Bakker on Electrification

By Transport Action Ontario | Events , Intercity Rail and Bus , Urban Transit

We invite you to join us for a guest speaker meeting on Wednesday October 23rd in Toronto, or Friday October 25th in Ottawa.

John Bakker, Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta, and past Western vice-president of Transport Action Canada, now resident in the Vancouver area, will speak on Transportation Electrification Strategies for Western Canada discussing passenger rail, urban light rail, and freight. 

John served as civil engineering consultant for the Edmonton LRT, North America’s first modern light rail system, in 1978. Together with John Schnablegger, he also authored Ottawa’s 1996 Rapid Transit study, which was the basis for the decision in 1997 to implement the Ottawa Light Rail Pilot Project, from Greenboro and Carleton University to Bayview, and now forms the Trillium Line in Ottawa’s LRT system.

Toronto Meeting

Date: Wednesday October 23, 2019
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Location: St. Paul’s Bloor Street | 227 Bloor Street St. E, Toronto, Room 206

The nearest TTC subway stations are Bloor-Yonge and Sherbourne.

Ottawa Meeting

Date: Friday October 25th, 2019
Time: 5:00 to 6.30 pm (doors open at 4.30 pm)
Location: Bronson Centre | 211 Bronson Avenue, Ottawa, Room 221

The Bronson Centre is served directly by bus route #10 Hurdman from Lyon O-Train Station, or by bus route #11 from downtown or the west end to Somerset and Bronson, two blocks south of the Centre. Free parking is available on the side streets around the Centre or in the parking lot at the rear off Nepean Street.

Photo: A “Rolling Highway” through the Alps in Switzerland – An option for the Rockies? 

Oct 13

Write to your Federal Candidates about Northern Ontario Passenger Rail and Bus Services

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

With the federal election fast upon us, Transport Action Canada is conducting multiple campaigns to write to federal candidates about the importance of protecting and restoring inter-community rail and bus service. This includes Northern Ontario.

To send a letter regarding Northern Ontario service restoration, click on the button below: