Former federal transportation minister David Collenette to lead Ontario's high-speed rail project

Former federal transportation minister David Collenette is now the head of the provincial government’s high-speed rail advisory team, as the province to bring high-speed to rail route between Toronto and London by 2025.

The former Liberal cabinet minister was named a special adviser for the project in 2015

Ontario has appointed David Collenette as its special advisor on high speed rail in the province. (davidcollenette.ca)

Former federal transportation minister, David Collenette will take the lead to bring high-speed rail to Ontario.

Ontario Transport Minister Kathryn McGarry and Kitchener Centre MPP Daiene Vernile announced Tuesday that Collenette will chair the provincial government's high-speed advisory team.

This comes as work is set to begin on a $15 million-dollar environmental assessment to study the feasibility of high-speed rail between Kitchener-Waterloo and London this spring.

That assessment is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete.

"As a country, we have to realize that this is the way the world is going", Collenette told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive.

"You build these high-speed rail links not because it's the fashionable thing to do. It's because it's the most economical way to move high volumes of people quickly. And the economic development that that spurs is incredible."

The first high-speed rail line between London and Toronto could be running by 2025, with the London-to-Windsor connection to follow by 2031.

Collenette expects train fare to cost 20 per cent more than existing rail options in Southwestern Ontario.

Before being appointed the project lead, Collenette has served as a special advisor to the high-speed rail advisory team since 2015.

Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre speaks to David Collenette. The former Liberal cabinet minister will lead the charge toward high-speed rail in SW Ontario by 2025. 8:43

About the Author

Chris dela Torre

Host of Afternoon Drive

Chris dela Torre is the host of Afternoon Drive on CBC Radio One in Southwestern Ontario. He's worked as a host, reporter and producer in several cities across Canada, and has hosted several CBC network programs, such as q, DNTO and The Story From Here.