Kathleen Wynne, along with Deb Matthews and Steven Del Duca, announced last week that plans were underway to bring high speed rail to the Toronto-Windsor Corridor, with $15 million being invested in a comprehensive environmental assessment. The decision was made after extensive research and deliberations about the feasibility of the project — on again and off again over many years.
In addition to cutting down on commute times when traveling between Toronto and Windsor, the implementation of a high-speed rail system will also benefit the area by giving residents and visitors more environmentally friendly transportation options. The project also seeks to support economic growth by creating more jobs and opportunities for residents and businesses alike. Businesses will see increased traffic, and people will have a wider range of job opportunities as places that were previously too far away will be much more accessible in a smaller amount of time.
The high-speed rail certainly earns its name, as it will travel at speeds as high as 250 km per hour, which could potentially allow residents to get from Toronto to Windsor in only two hours. It is set to begin design and construction by 2022 and be fully operable by 2025. By then, it will be rather extensive, not only connecting Toronto and Windsor but also reaching as far as Detroit and beyond. The rail system will reportedly cost over $20 billion and provide transportation to more than 10 million people by the year 2041.
Premier Kathleen Wynne discussed her plans to finally get the ball rolling on this project. “The Toronto-Windsor corridor is home to over seven million people and 60% of Ontario’s economy. At its center is London. We’re outgrowing our current transportation network.”
Wynne also went on to explain some of the benefits of implementing such a system. “Whether it means accepting a job that previously seemed too far away, visiting family more often, or having ready access to the innovators who can take your business growth to the next level, high speed rail will make a real difference in people’s lives and drive economic growth and jobs.”
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca discussed a report which concluded with certainty that there is a business case for high speed rail along the Toronto-Windsor corridor. “This is a precedent-setting project. We want to make sure fundamentally that we get this right.” The plan included two options for the government to consider, one which would create a rail that could travel 250 km per hour and one more expensive option capable of speeds as high as 330 km per hour. Though it will take years before the rail system is completed and fully operational, it will go a long way in making people’s lives easier, supporting the economy as well as the environment, and connecting people who would otherwise be too far apart.