No mention of Northern passenger rail in transport minister's speech: GTA commuter rail, subway projects, highway four-laning on the province's transportation agenda.

AuthorRoss, Ian

If the Ontario government has big plans to return passenger rail to northeastern Ontario, it appears to be a well-kept secret, for now.

Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek made no mention of any upcoming revival of the Cochrane-North Bay-Toronto rail link in his prepared speech at the Ontario Good Roads conference in Toronto, Feb. 25. His wide-ranging remarks were made available through a news release.

In outlining the government's transportation priorities, Yurek spoke about highway four-laning projects between Sudbury and Parry Sound, from Kenora to the Manitoba border, and upcoming twinning projects near Ottawa, Arnprior, and between Leamington and Windsor.

"We believe that planning for highways, roads and transit must be integrated, because, after all, effective public transit is absolutely critical for reducing gridlock."

On the rail side, commuter GO train service has been added to the Niagara Region and more frequency of service in the GTA and Kitchener area.

Any new rail service proposed by the Ford government will be subterreanean, with fast-tracked subway extensions planned for Toronto's downtown, Yonge Street and Scarborough.

"We also recognize that people have been waiting far too long to see these projects happen," Yurek said.

Yurek further mentioned the $364 million in gas tax funding to 107 municipalities for public transit and the $30 million being parcelled out over the next five years to 39 municipalities for local transportation services.

"That is why we announced support for local transit projects in communities across the province that will make life...

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