Improved rail between Waterloo region and Toronto 'immense priority' for PCs, MPP Harris says

The provincial budget lacked any real details on rail improvements, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris says.

Provincial budget lacked details on rail improvements, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris says

PC MPP Michael Harris says all-day and two-way rail transportation between Waterloo region and Toronto is "an immense priority" for his party. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

The provincial budget was short on details when it came to funding for two-way, all-day GO between Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto, said MPP Mike Harris.

Harris, the MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga and the Progressive Conservative transportation critic, said the provincial budget released Thursday lacked any real specifics on a very necessary rail corridor.

As well, the Liberals failed to address high speed rail between Windsor and Toronto.

"They commit to continuing the discussion," Harris said, in an interview with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition Friday.

He said the movement of people between Waterloo region and Toronto "is an immense priority for us."

Liberals need to provide more specifics

Waiting until 2024, which is the Liberal plan, is not soon enough, he added.

PC Leader Patrick Brown has been to Waterloo region and has heard the concerns from tech companies about the need for rail service, Harris said.

"We have heard them loud and clear, easier access, faster access to the GTA is imperative. Not only into the GTA, but also back into the region back in the morning. There is still not rail option to date to come from Union [Station] to Kitchener-Waterloo," Harris said.

"It is top of the priority list to get people in and out of our region to Toronto and back for the Ontario PCs."

Investments 'can take time'

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic was pleased with the budget and its mention of technical analysis underway for two-way, all-day GO trains between the region and Toronto's Union Station and a comprehensive environmental assessment and planning work for a high speed rail line from Windsor to Toronto.

"These investments can take time to realize their full potential.  With an eye on economic growth over the long term, this budget continues to make progress on these and other areas," Vrbanovic said in a statement after the budget Thursday.

"This continued commitment in the rail corridor will, in time, alleviate congestion in both directions and drive economic growth for Ontario and the country."