Ontario government wants high-speed rail proposal by October, MP says
The Ontario government wants to see a proposal completed for a Toronto-to-Windsor high-speed rail project by October, according to a London-area MP.
The governing Liberals have been consulting with various stakeholders along the Toronto-to-Windsor corridor this month, as they map out what the proposed rail project could look like.
Karen Vecchio, the newly elected MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London, was at a stakeholders meeting held in London on Tuesday afternoon.
She came away from the meeting convinced that the provincial government is serious about making high-speed rail a reality. And it appears they plan to close in on a proposal in the months ahead.
"From what I understand, they want to have this studied and they want to have a proposal given to the government … by October of 2016," she told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive in an interview on Tuesday.
Vecchio still has many questions, including what the ridership profile will look like and how much it will cost to use.
"Who is the ridership, what are we trying to do with this and what will the final outcome be?" she said.
Jeff Casello, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, believes it is definitely possible for the province to establish high-speed rail between Toronto and Windsor.
"Is it feasible? It absolutely is. And if you ask me is it necessary, I think it absolutely is necessary as well," he told CBC News in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
But he said what gets built will depend on what the province wants to spend.
"I think the province needs to start thinking about, you know, what are the levels of investment they want to make and what's the level of quality of service they want to operate," he said.
In October, the provincial government appointed David Collenette as its special adviser for high-speed rail.
Collenette, who was at the Tuesday meeting in London, has been tasked with looking at economic development opportunities, as well as with looking at the experience of high-speed rail in other places around the world. The government says he will also give advice on possible financing models for this project.
The government says the rail project will be part of the $130 billion the province is spending on infrastructure over a 10-year period.