Travellers cheer high-speed rail plan but worry it won't make it to Windsor
Phase two between London and Windsor would be completed by 2031
The provincial government has announced plans for a high-speed rail line connecting southwestern Ontario to Toronto, but while travellers are excited about the idea some doubt it will ever reach Windsor.
Premier Kathleen Wynne revealed details of a first phase with stops in Kitchener-Waterloo and London by 2025.
The second phase of the project would reach Windsor, but the fact the city was left out of the first stage had politicians, economists and even passengers wondering if the tracks really would continue past London.
"I see the danger in starting the segment from Toronto to London, that's where the bias against Windsor lies," explained University of Windsor professor emeritus Alfie Morgan. "That worries me quite a bit."
Morgan wasn't alone with his worry.
"[The] concern that I have on my mind is making sure that we're not excluded, that they don't just stop at London and say, 'That's it and we're going to wait for some other government in the future to do it," said Mayor Drew Dilkens. "I think if they're going to make the commitment to build it, it should be from Toronto to Windsor."
MPPc call announcement 'hollow election promise'
The announcement also drew criticism from NDP MPPs along the proposed route who issued a joint statement calling the plan "just another hollow election promise."
However, if the government goes through with its plan, Morgan said the economic impact for Windsor would be "immense."
Among the possible benefits are increased population and investments in area companies.
"It's very difficult to run a business in Toronto right now, but this is going to open the door for businesses to come and relocate here," he said.
Between the Gordie Howe International Bridge and high-speed rail, the region could also take off as a tourism and logistical centre, he added.
The promise of a two-hour trip to Toronto is something that sounds good to most Canadian and American travellers, including Madelyn Marquette who lives in Ohio, but frequently takes the train to see her boyfriend who lives in Toronto.
When asked whether she would go for a faster option, the answer was immediate.
"Oh heck yeah," she said. "I don't know why they haven't done it."