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GO Train Service a Step Closer

May 26, 2009

The old legend of Scylla and Charybdis has something to say about our current predicament. Two monsters on opposites sides of a narrow strait proved a mortal danger to mythical sailors and were the genesis of our expression, “caught between a rock and a hard place”.

In modern times, we are caught between our increasing use of the automobile and the lack of alternatives, such as public transit. Our government is addressing this predicament by paying for the expansion of GO train service to Halton Hills and Wellington County. A stronger GO train system will provide an alternative to the automobile, shorten commuting times, cut costs for commuters, improve our environment and reduce greenhouse gases. Recently, the governments of Canada and Ontario announced a joint investment of $500 million for the GO Transit revitalization project, which will improve GO Transit service and reliability. Half of this amount will go toward a series of GO station parking expansions throughout the Greater Toronto Area. A portion of the other half of this amount will pay for the expansion of GO train service to Acton, Guelph and Kitchener.

The major impediment preventing GO train expansion to Acton, Guelph and Kitchener is due to the fact that the rail bridge over the Credit River consists of only one rail track, which must be shared with VIA/Amtrak passenger trains, freight trains and GO commuter trains. Of the monies mentioned above $30 milliion will go to widening the bridge over the Credit to expand capacity on this crossing and improve the efficiency of trains.

The improvements to the Credit River Bridge consist of adding a second track and provisioning for a third, which is critical to meet current demand and allow for the expansion of GO train service. Construction is expected to start this summer and finish in fall 2010. This local $30 million improvement to the Credit River Bridge is crucial for allowing future expansion of GO train service to Acton and Guelph, and is just one of the many GO Transit service projects the Government of Canada is funding to improve public transit service.

In addition to helping us navigate the tricky waters between a rock and a hard place, these investments will help increase economic growth and improve service for commuters in Georgetown and Acton who use the Union Station-Georgetown line. It will also help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and improve our environment.

Once the Credit River bridge expansion is completed, the last big bottleneck that prevents an expansion of GO train service to Acton, Guelph and Kitchener will be removed. With this bottleneck out of the way, construction of new GO train stations can commence and expanded GO train service to Acton (in Halton Hills) and Guelph (in Wellington County) could arrive as early as 2011.

I can be reached at chong.m@parl.gc.ca or at 1-866-878-5556


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