Category Archives for "Latest News"

Jul 27

Transport Canada Backs Away from Commitment to Sault Ste. Marie – Hearst Passenger Train

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

It has been over a year since the Algoma passenger trains stopped running.  The Algoma Passenger Train Working Group, including rail advocacy groups,  has come up with a proposal to run the service as a not for profit venture led by the Missanabie Cree First Nation with a Board of Directors representing the First Nations, municipalities and socio-economic stakeholders. The new Mask-wa Ootaban (Bear Train) will be more cost efficient while creating more employment and tax revenue.

The positive economic arguments became evident from a 2015 study undertaken by BDO Canada that conservatively estimates how the train creates direct and indirect economic activity in the range of 28 to 38 million dollars a year for the region’s severely challenged economy.  On top of that, the service supports 170-220 jobs, while generating those tax dollars that more than replaced the original yearly subsidy which was cut by the previous government thereby creating the whole problem in the first place.

After considerable community advocacy, the previous Harper government committed  to restore the subsidy for three years.  However, under the current Liberal government, Transport Canada has suddenly and without public consultation, backed away from this commitment, allegedly because the new proposal requests an on-going subsidy.  There is widespread public outrage on this decision.  The First Nation is approaching Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, to request that she work inter-ministries to garner the required funding.

Jul 25

Toronto Debate on Scarborough Subway Extension is Over

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

After years of public and political debate, Toronto Council has voted to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway in Scarborough by 1 stop (6 kilometers) at a staggering capital cost of $3.2B.  The extension is part of a proposed network in Scarborough including improved GO transit and the Eglinton East LRT line.  As readers know, Transport Action Ontario has been very active in this debate, including meetings with staff, councillors and public deputations.  Although we support the rest of the network, we have strongly opposed the SSE as too expensive and leading to capacity pressures on the balance of the subway network.
Instead of SSE, we have advocated vigorously for Scarborough Express Rail, a new  GO line branching from the existing GO Stouffville corridor, as providing subway-like service at much lower cost.  But strong political pressure lead to this alternative being dropped from detailed consideration.
Toronto remains on the hook for the $900M SSE capital funding increment over and beyond provincial and federal funding, and is responsible for all of the substantial operations, maintenance and lifecycle costs of the SSE.  The Eglinton East LRT is unfunded, and there is scepticism that it will ever be built, due to funding constraints exacerbated by the SSE decision.
Jul 16

Input Provided on Multimodal Transportation Strategy for Northern Ontario

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



The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) & the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development & Mines (MNDM) are currently developing a Multimodal Transportation Strategy for Northern Ontario (NOMTS). This initiative will define the improvements for the movement of people & goods over the next twenty five years, throughout the Cambrian Shield.
Our affiliate organization, the Northern and Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN), together with Transport Action Ontario, have  responded on behalf  of  numerous citizen groups in the province.  The submission focusses on the importance and the need for frequent and  reliable passenger trains & corresponding bus shuttle services in the region.  A  Multimodal Transportation Strategy for Northern Ontario must include passenger trains!
Northern Ontario is becoming more and more isolated. This severely inhibits new inward investment and access to the burgeoning, global tourism opportunity. Between 2011 & 2014, there have been over 674 highway closures in the Northeast region of the province. Communities have witnessed nine motor coach route reductions or service eliminations within the previous year.   Connecting Northern Ontario with the rest of the province & the country is critical.
The NEORN/TAO submission can be viewed here:  NEORN-NOMTS-Submission-FINAL
Jul 07

Province-Wide Consulations on Modernizing Ontario Intercity Bus Regime

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



Intercity bus service is a key component of a connected intercity public transportation network in Ontario.  For example, our Network Southwest Integrated Passenger Rail and Bus Action Plan proposes a strong network of buses connected to a rail “spine”.  However, the reality in Ontario is very different – with declining service and reduced frequencies.   In 2015, the province initiated consultations on modernizing the intercity bus regime.  Both Transport Action Ontario and the Southwest Ontario Transportation Alliance (SWOTA) provided commentary.  (See TAO website for our joint letter of September 24, 2015).
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has now issued a discussion paper and a schedule for consultation during July/August.  Please read the paper and feed back any thoughts to the address in the paper.  We also encourage members to attend some of these meetings and provide feedback in person.
Jul 06

Intruiging Agreement between CN and Province of Ontario

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



The busy CN mainline between Bramalea (Halwest) and Georgetown (Silver) has long been a bottleneck for increasing GO and VIA service to Kitchener and points further west like Stratford and London.  On June 14, Ontario announced that the province has secured an agreement-in-principle with CN that will allow GO Regional Express Rail to be built along the Kitchener GO corridor.  The agreement-in-principle also begins the planning and technical analysis to build a new freight corridor that will allow CN to shift most of its freight traffic from the section of the Kitchener corridor it owns – namely between Bramalea and Georgetown – to the new corridor.  This will free up capacity for more GO and VIA service.  The province also announced funding to help build a multimodal transportation hub in downtown Kitchener and the extension of two morning and two afternoon peak train trips that currently run between Union Station and Georgetown to also serve Kitchener, Guelph and Acton.
The Ontario-CN agreement is very interesting.  It comes on the heels of the “Missing Link” study prepared by 4 municipalities in 2015 to allow increased GO service on both the Kitchener and Milton lines.   (See Ontario Report, November-December, 2015.) This agreement appears to be different, but time will tell.
1 33 34 35 36 37 40