The Ford government’s first budget has put a halt on plans for high-speed rail in southwestern Ontario.
It says the provincial government has “paused capital funding for high-speed rail in the 2019 Ontario Budget.”
It states that the government will look for ways to enhance service and speed times for existing railway corridors and also the possibility of putting more buses on the road to connect the cities.
Cities along the corridor had been clamoring for improved transit service but many rural residents had opposed the plan stating that it would impair farms.
In a battle of cities vs. farmers, the latter appears to have the ear of the province as the budget states:
“The agricultural community has warned that the project would create a physical barrier that would eliminate countless hectares of prime agricultural land in one of Canada’s richest farm belts, restricting access to homes, fields and markets.”
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The previous Liberal government had announced plans to connect Toronto to London, Ont. by 2025 with the line extending to Windsor by 2031.
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There was no final pricetag on the project but they had committed $11 billion towards connecting the corridor which is home to seven million people and over 60 per cent of Ontario’s economic activity.
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The Wynne Government had said that the travel times between Kitchener and Union Station in downtown Toronto would have been reduced to 48 minutes and to Pearson Airport in 32 minutes.
Further down Highway 401, a trip from London to Union station would have been 73 minutes and Londoners would have been at Pearson in just under an hour (57 minutes).
*With files from Canadian Press
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