Environmental assessment ordered for Ontario high-speed rail
Route would connect Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto
The province has ordered an environmental assessment for a high-speed rail line connecting Windsor, London, Kitchener and Toronto.
The environmental assessment would determine the most appropriate route, examine technology options for the future railroad and determine what effect the route could have on the environment.
“There’s huge upside here,” Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said Friday. “There’s huge economic development potential here by using high speed rail and the technology involved to physically link all of Southwestern Ontario to Toronto, in terms of job creation.”
While Del Duca was keen to extol the economic bonanza a Windsor-Toronto high-speed link would bring, he wasn't so keen on committing to an exact date for when the trains could actually be running.
"In the next four to six years we’re going to do the work to put us in a position to make the decision about how long it will take to get the trains running," he said.
"Nothing can be done until the environmental assessment has been completed."
Del Duca's latest comments suggest a less specific timeline than the one his predecessor alluded to before the June 12 election.
Glen Murray, who was transportation minister at the time, a London to Toronto high-speed train would cost between $2 to 3 billion and would take a decade to complete.
Del Duca did not say how much the assessment would cost, but he said the project has been budgeted. Consultations for the environmental assessment will begin in early 2015.
A potential high-speed rail link between London, Kitchener and Toronto was among promises made by Premier Kathleen Wynne's government when the Liberals were swept to power in the June 12 election.