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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce thinks a high-frequency rail system — not a lightning-fast rail corridor — would better address Ontario’s transportation needs.
This week they backed a solution tied into VIA Rail, which the local chamber says would decrease congestion and provide short-term relief to residents across Ontario. The announcement was tied to a report from the province-wide Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
The suggestion to run a high speed rail system through VIA Rail conflicts somewhat with the previous Ontario government’s $20 billion rail corridor from Toronto to Windsor, one that would travel up to 250 km/h and would cut travel time between the two locations in half.
The estimated end date for that project was 2031.
An $15 million environmental assessment for the high speed rail project was green-lighted by the previous Ontario government but the summer election left its status up in the air. Fears the assessment would be cancelled were exacerbated when the new government axed an advisory board for the project.
Now the Ontario government is reportedly considering other options to handle Ontario’s congestion problem, especially along the busy Hwy. 401. The decision to look for other options was applauded by rural residents, many who felt left behind by the previous high speed rail plan.
The previous government’s proposed high speed rail corridor would likely not directly help Sarnia-Lambton, as the closest stop would be London. The region would more likely benefit from a higher-frequency rail system, one suggested by Mayor Mike Bradley as well as the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce this week.
“Limited transit connectivity, aging assets, unique regional needs, and a historic under-investment in infrastructure have led to a significant gap between the actual and needed infrastructure in Ontario,” Shirley de Silva, president and chief executive officer, wrote in the chamber’s press release.
One train runs from Sarnia to London each day, leaving the border city around 6 a.m. One train returns each day, arriving back in Sarnia around 10 p.m.
There is no Greyhound route between Sarnia and London.
This article first appeared on www.theobserver.ca
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