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