Commit to 2-way, all-day GO, Kitchener council tells political leaders
'If we don't push for it, then these sorts of things definitely will not happen,' Coun. Davey says
Two-way, all-day GO train service and high-speed rail are needed to ensure Waterloo region can continue to grow its tech sector — that was the message from Kitchener council on Monday.
Council voted unanimously to send a letter to the leaders of all political parties at the federal and provincial level, asking them to commit to two-way, all-day GO trains by 2024 and high-speed rail through the region by 2025.
The motion was brought forward at Monday night's meeting by Coun. Scott Davey.
"This is so significant for our community that I think every political party should be interested in looking at this and some have been silent on it," he said in an interview prior to the meeting.
Council agreed the two rail projects are needed to connect the region to Toronto, with the goal of helping to attract people to work at companies in the region.
In its letter to the leaders, council noted the trains would also reduce emissions and improve the environment, as well as quality of life.
2014 election promise didn't materialize
During the 2014 election, former provincial transportation minister Glen Murray promised two-way, all-day GO trains to the region within five years. That promise never materialized.
Davey admitted he is concerned about asking the provincial leaders to make promises during a campaign — "sometimes they stick and sometimes they don't" — but he said the city needs to continue to raise the issue.
"The reality is, if we don't push for it, then these sorts of things definitely will not happen," he said.
'Ridiculous congestion of the 401'
"Part of the reason it's even on their radar now is because the people in our community and the businesses in our community have acknowledged the ridiculous congestion of the 401 and we need to address that because it's stifling economic growth throughout the whole southern end of Ontario," said Davey.
He said it can be easy to forget that some workers commute to Waterloo region from Toronto and companies use different ways to get employees on site, including hiring buses to pick up workers in Toronto.
"If the 401 becomes such a bottleneck that they throw up their hands in the air and say, 'We can't operate business this way,' that's bad for everyone," Davey said.