Winner – New Business of the Year

Local MPP Jamie Schmale.

Schmale continues to push for VIA Rail stop in Pontypool area

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The federal government announced that the Canada Infrastructure Bank will contribute $66.1 million in new funding to further study the Quebec-Ottawa-Peterborough-Toronto VIA Rail relief line. 

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock current Member of Parliament and re-running Candidate Jamie Schmale said “while I have been advocating for this project for a number of years, today’s announcement shouldn’t be confused as a done deal. Nothing in today’s announcement demonstrates that this government is serious about getting shovels in the ground.”

“It is time for the government to commit to construction. If the government had begun construction two years ago on the Peterborough to Toronto section, we would be cutting a ribbon – not re-announcing further studies without commitment to construction,” said Schmale in a press release.

Michael Skinner, former member of the Shining Waters Rail Board and current Conservative Candidate in Peterborough-Kawartha said, “MP Schmale and I have been working on the VIA Rail file for over five years.

“This is a vital transportation link for the Peterborough area. Today’s announcement of another round of studies and millions of dollars in new spending still does not equal a commitment. It appears to be nothing more than an expensive Liberal cover up of their inability to get an essential project to completion,” said Skinner in the release.

After years of previous study on the project, the government announced that $55 million of this funding will support a Joint Project Team, which is mandated to conduct further research on the High Frequency Rail line.

A dedicated High Frequency Rail line is vital to improving the health of the local economy, connecting commuters to major employment centers, and reducing the environmental impact of motor vehicles.

The existing Quebec City-Toronto route suffers from numerous bottlenecks because VIA Rail must compete with freight for scheduling. Freight companies are often given priority due their ownership of certain stretches of rail. This isn’t fair to commuters who rely on rail as an option to get to work and support our economy.

VIA Rail’s proposal will triple the number of trips per day between Montreal and Toronto and meet an emissions target akin to cutting the equivalent of at least 2.3 million cars from the road for a year, by 2050, taking real action to fight climate change.

Schmale continues to push for a stop at the southern end of Kawartha Lakes, in Pontypool.

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1 Comment

  1. If the MP is counting on this VIA dream scheme to deliver rail passenger service to Pontypool, he’s going to be disappointed. It’s never going to happen.

    This fantasy is just that. It’s the wrong route and the wrong concept if the objective is improved rail service for the Quebec-Windsor Corridor, which shouldn’t be confused with the need to provide rail service to this region. It’s unaffordable, impractical and unworkable.

    There is a way to return rail service to Pontypool and Peterborough, but this isn’t it. This $71 million for more studies of studies that are already underway will just result in no action and no improvement to the mobility we require if our communities are going to thrive and compete with others elsewhere in North America that are now enjoying the benefits of high-performance rail service.

    http://oxfordcounty.ca/portals/15/Documents/News%20Room/7160_0_Sep_27_2017_Agenda_version01.pdf#page=22

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