Investments in transportation infrastructure from Federal and Provincial governments sparks community forum on future of public transit and VIA Rail in Peterborough—Kawartha.
April 6, 2018 – Peterborough Ontario – Today, the Hon. Maryam Monsef, Member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha, VIA Rail, community leaders, and elected officials came together to discuss the future of transit in Peterborough—Kawartha. Also discussed were next steps in the advocacy for VIA Rail’s proposed High-Frequency Rail initiative, a project that would see the return of passenger rail to Peterborough and neighboring communities.
Budget 2018 allocates $8 million for Transport Canada to undertake foundational work to advance VIA Rail’s proposal for high-frequency rail in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor. This study will support further economic analysis of key issues associated with the proposed project, such as revenue and ridership projections, as well as estimates for capital and operating costs.
This funding will also explore opportunities to leverage private investment or a potential role for the Canada Infrastructure Bank, as well as open and transparent engagement with potentially affected communities, including Indigenous communities.
The Hon. Jeff Leal, Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough; Jamie Schmale, Member of Parliament for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock; Daryl Bennett, Mayor City of Peterborough; representatives from Alderville and Hiawatha First Nations; representatives from VIA Rail; Stuart Harrison, President & CEO of the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce; Sandra Dueck, Policy Analyst, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce; and Jim Hill, Chair of Board of Directors, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce attended the morning conversation with VIA Rail on the future of the High-Frequency Rail proposal.
The transit conversation, attended by 25 community leaders, elected officials, and municipal staff from rural and urban communities, discussed how our communities move in the context of new infrastructure spending and emerging opportunities in transportation, along with how to build a shared vision for the future of transportation in our communities.
The opportunity for collaborative work builds on the recently announced Canada-Ontario bilateral infrastructure agreement that will provide Peterborough and surrounding communities with over $31 million in federal funding and more than $25 million in provincial funding to build new transit networks and service extensions that will transform the way Peterborough lives, moves and works. Opportunities and barriers were identified with the expansion of the Peterborough Airport, the connection to the 407, and investments in transit infrastructure.
The conversation today was sparked by discussion at the Rural Women’s Summit hosted by MP Monsef which highlighted the need for innovative community-based solutions to transportation. The visioning session asked how our communities can build a more accessible, vibrant, and sustainable means of transportation across the region as the use of trains, planes, active transportation, and motor vehicles grows.
“Transportation matters to all of us. The conversations today highlight the need for innovative and community-based solutions for all forms of transit to ensure families, students, seniors, workers, and persons with disabilities can participate in our communities. Our government recognizes the importance of public transit and collaborative investments in infrastructure in our communities. That is why I am so pleased to hold these conversations with elected officials and community members to chart a path forward.
I have been working hard to advocate for VIA Rail in this community. Budget 2018 allocates $8 million to the study of VIA Rail’s proposal for high-frequency rail in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor, and is a significant investment in evidence-based decision making. This investment builds on the previous $3.3 million allocated in Budget 2016 to Transport Canada to provide an in-depth assessment of VIA Rail’s high frequency rail proposal and the $65,000 investment for an analysis of Peterborough-Toronto Freight Rail. The high-frequency rail proposal recognizes the importance of making travel more accessible and efficient, promoting economic growth and job creation in our region, and promoting a sustainable future for our communities. Important groundwork has already been made by members of our community through the Shining Waters Railway project, led by the late Tony Smith. I will continue to foster conversations between our elected officials to support this initiative.”
– Hon. Maryam Monsef, Member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha
Since October 2015, the Government of Canada has made significant investments in transportation across this region. This funding includes:
- $600,000,000 investment into the Trent-Severn Waterway
- $4,870,000 investment through FedDev Ontario to support the expansion of Flying Colours Corp.
- $8,000,000 investment through Budget 2018 in the study of VIA Rail’s proposed high frequency rail project in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor
- $5,451,791 investment in Peterborough—Kawartha through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund
- $65,000 investment for the Peterborough-Toronto Freight Rail Analysis
- $21,942,995 through the Federal Gas Tax Fund to municipalities in Peterborough—Kawartha