Toronto’s Georgetown Corridor Moves Forward, but Opposition Mounts to Diesel Operation

» Electrification of the line could provide a significant reprieve for surrounding communities concerned about pollution.

Yesterday, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment ruled in favor of Toronto’s plans for expanded commuter rail operations on the Georgetown Corridor, which runs northwest from downtown’s Union Station. The project would significantly expand passenger rail capacity on the line and allow for direct connections to the airport, improving transit for the western side of the region. Project opponents, however, are concerned about the effects of diesel exhaust on their neighborhoods and continue to push for the use of electric trains on the line. The government ruling makes the hope for that more environmentally sensitive approach less likely.

Plans for the expansion of Toronto’s transit system are developing quickly, with a major subway and light rail program funded and underway. The region’s Metrolinx agency, which now runs the GO commuter rail system,

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Canadian Liberals Hope to Find Electoral Success in Support for High-Speed Rail

» Ruling Conservatives have been reluctant to commit to what would be a huge project to connect Québec, Montréal, Toronto, and Windsor.

Early this year, the Canadian Conservative Party came close to losing its control of the federal government after the Liberal, New Democratic, and Bloc Québécois parties suggested that they would demand that their collective legislative majority be honored. In Canada, the party with a plurality of seats is traditionally rewarded with the Prime Ministership even if multiple parties on the opposing side have more total representation in the Parliament. In the past few months, Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have attempted to soothe the masses by appropriating cash to major projects throughout the country — Toronto received huge grants for several light rail lines and the proposed Québec-Windsor high-speed rail link garnered preliminary support.

Months have passed and there has been no added commitment to the fast

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Vancouver's TransLink Faces Serious Funding Gap

» Meeting long-term transport needs will require a major new governmental commitment, as well as new financing options like central-city tolling.

This week, metro Vancouver’s TransLink presented three options for the region’s elected officials: with an infusion of new cash, the transit authority could dramatically improve service and expand rapid transit along three new corridors; it could maintain the status quo and cut bus service by 40%; or, it could do something in between. Politicians in the region’s cities and in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, have until October 31st to make up their minds. They’ll either have to find significant new funding sources or face dramatic cuts in transit service.

Though Vancouver is currently building a new rapid transit project called the Canada Line and is investing in a downtown streetcar project in time for the 2010 Olympics, the picture isn’t all rosy. TransLink faces a $4.6

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Calgary-Edmonton Corridor Next Up for Train Improvements

Alberta government reports on possible high-speed links costing between C$3 and 20 billion.

Last week, yet another North American governmental body announced that it would begin fighting for funds to build a high-speed rail line. This time, Alberta stepped up to the plate, arguing that a fast train link between Calgary and Edmonton, with a stop along the way in Red Deer, would be a appropriate corridor for investment. This is the second serious Canadian effort for high-speed rail, behind the more prominent Windsor-Québec City effort, which would connect Toronto and Montréal, the country’s two largest metropolitan areas.

Calgary and Edmonton are 180 miles apart, putting them about three hours of one another by car. As a result, more than ninety percent of the travel between the cities is done by road, with only a small portion of people choosing to fly between them. Via Rail Canada serves Edmonton along

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Canada's Waterloo Region Plans for Light Rail by 2014

Region would be smallest in North America to build a modern electric light rail system.

After a commitment by the Regional Council, Canada’s Waterloo Region will begin the planning and construction of a new light rail line connecting two of the area’s major cities, Waterloo and Kitchener. The project will be staged in association with a new bus rapid transit line heading south to Cambridge. The region, with a population of less than 500,000, will become North America’s smallest metropolitan area to benefit from a modern electric light rail system and leads the way for smaller municipalities around the continent to consider investments in dramatically improved public transportation.

The Waterloo Region is inland, southwest of Toronto. It has become one of Canada’s fastest-growing metro areas, and is expected to expand to 725,000 citizens over the next 25 years. Kitchener, the region’s largest city, has a population of 200,000. In order

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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