July 21, 2017 — St. Marys citizens’ group agrees fully with Transport Action on high-speed scheme —

ST. MARYS, ONTARIO – A hard-hitting statement issued today by the Transport Action Ontario advocacy group regarding the provincial high-speed rail (HSR) proposal has met with strong support from All Aboard St. Marys.

“We are in complete agreement with our colleagues at Transport Action,” says Chris West of the St. Marys citizens’ committee. “They have described the multi-year, multi-billion-dollar HSR proposal by Queen’s Park as nothing but a pre-election vote chaser. It’s a political promise designed to carry ridings, not passengers, and we see nothing but more time and public money being wasted on this vanity plan.”

After two previous rounds of study, the Government of Ontario has decided to commit another $15 million to more studies and public consultations on a plan to build a $21-billion, 250- km/hour HSR line from Toronto to Windsor by way of Kitchener and London. It wouldn’t be completed until at least 2031 and it would bypass St. Marys, Stratford, Woodstock, Brantford and other communities on the two existing VIA Rail routes between Toronto and London.

Says West, “We need rational improvements now, not reports about expensive dreams that likely won’t come true. We’ve been down this garden path several times before and the result has always been nothing. More frequent and more affordable rail service on the existing routes is the answer. Without it, Southwestern Ontario will become less attractive as a place to live, work, invest and visit.”

In common with All Aboard St. Marys, Transport Action Ontario is calling on the federal and provincial governments to form a partnership to jointly implement high-performance rail (HPR) service as a much quicker, equally effective and more affordable solution to Southwestern Ontario’s growing transportation problem. HPR is in daily operation on comparable rail corridors around the world, including the U.S.

“All Aboard St. Marys has said on numerous occasions that HPR is the logical and effective way to incrementally provide rail improvements the public can use every step of the way,” says West. “The provincial HSR plan would not only bypass St. Marys and numerous other towns, it wouldn’t deliver a drop of improved service until it was completed years from now.”

As a result of Transport Action Ontario’s strong and logical stand on the issue, the two groups are now exploring options to jointly advance the case for HPR service in Southwestern Ontario. All Aboard St. Marys has previously hosted events in conjunction with Transport Action Ontario in St. Marys and throughout Southwestern Ontario, including the production and presentation of a transportation vision for the region called Network Southwest.

The Transport Action Ontario statement on the provincial HSR proposal is now available at:

http://ontario.transportaction.ca/tao-questions-ontarios-high-speed-rail-proposal-calls-for- replacement-by-a-high-performance-rail-plan/

“As a long-range objective, HSR is worthy of investigation,” says West. “As a course of action to meet our needs today and for the foreseeable future, at a price we can afford, it’s just another political promise before a tough election. We could do with at least one less of those in Ontario today.”

For more information, please contact:

Chris West
All Aboard St. Marys chriswest@kwic.com
Tel: 519 284-3310
Fax: 519 284-3160
Toll free: 1-866-862-5632 Ext. 238