A project near and dear to Peterborough in the form of VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail proposal, has been mentioned in a new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on transportation needs in Ontario. The report is the first in a series on the transportation needs of the province and highlights three areas of opportunity that will help improve the movement of goods and mobility of Ontarians. One of those three areas is moving people by rail.
The report points to short- and long-term opportunities for using rail, including VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail proposal, CN Rail’s Milton Logistics Hub, the use of advanced signalling technology to increase capacity on subways, bringing two-way all-day GO Train service to the Innovation Corridor, developing ‘Union Station West’, and the return of passenger rail to Northern Ontario.
“Transportation is the backbone of our economy, affecting the movement of people and goods and the everyday lives of residents and businesses,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “We have long maintained that the return of passenger rail, as well as improved freight capacity for then Peterborough region is highly desirable to our economic well-being into the future.”
The other two areas of this report are:
“There are many challenges for communities from relative congestion, limited transit connectivity, population growth, aging assets, unique regional needs, and a historic under-investment in infrastructure leading to a significant gap between the actual and needed infrastructure in Ontario,” adds Harrison.
In a recent OCC survey, 58 percent of Ontario businesses rated existing transportation infrastructure as fair or poor. With much of the existing infrastructure in Ontario built in the 1950s and 1960s and nearing the end of its useful life, the OCC recognizes that the costs of investment are high, and Ontario is far behind when it comes to building new and maintaining old infrastructure.
The Peterborough Chamber and the OCC have developed an initial thirteen strategic and pertinent transportation recommendations for a stronger Ontario. Although not an exhaustive review of all
transportation modes and regional needs across the province, this approach will help to address the current and future transportation needs of the province.
Transit Planning Governance
The transportation file is extremely important to the Chamber Network. We will continue to provide thought leadership on other modalities as part of our advocacy.