Windsor

Oxford County official says southwestern Ontario must get ready for high-speed rail

A municipal official in Oxford County says high-speed rail is coming to southwestern Ontario sooner or later and it's time to start thinking about how people in the region are going to be able to access it.

Peter Crockett says the region needs to think about how residents will access high-speed rail

A high-speed train is seen leaving a station in Europe, in this file photo. A municipal official in Oxford County says that high-speed rail is coming to southwestern Ontario either sooner or later and that means the region needs to think about how its residents will be able to access it. (Associated Press)

A municipal official in Oxford County says high-speed rail is coming to southwestern Ontario sooner or later and it's time to start thinking about how people in the region are going to be able to access it.

Peter Crockett, the chief administrative officer for Oxford County, argues the province's plan to establish a high-speed rail corridor between Toronto and Windsor will leave many people in the surrounding southwest without a convenient way of getting to it.

"We need a system that is going to cultivate the ridership that is going to make high-speed rail work," he told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive in an interview.

Crockett spoke to the Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus about this issue on Friday and his call for establishing an integrated transit system to serve the southwest region.

He told Afternoon Drive that the wardens were receptive to what he had to say.

"They supported it wholeheartedly," said Crockett. "They said: 'Go off and begin the discussion with the province and the various associations and the federal government and start the dialogue and see if we can make it come to fruition.'"

Crockett sees value in establishing such a system, even before high-speed rail comes to the southwest.

"In our mind, the issue isn't whether it will come or not, we believe in the fullness of time it will come," he said. "The issue is if and when, regardless, we need a fully integrated system to be able to support high-speed rail and, in the meantime, that fully integrated system can enhance the vitality and vibrancy of all southwestern of Ontario."

With files from the CBC's Bob Steele and CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive

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