Ontario High Speed Rail Study and Press Conference: Moving Forward or Stuck in Neutral
The Wynne government has announced the study today on the Friday of a long weekend. This is definitely not a preferred time to have a press conference. Governments usually reserve this time for bad news or news or when they cannot get any high profile media.
PRESS CONFERENCE FREE DOWNLOAD
Here is the press conference with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Steve Del Duca in London Ontario today. https://archive.org/details/May19HighSpeedRailPressConference
COSTS OF HIGH SPEED RAIL 1996 - 2017 COMPARISON
The David Collenette study recommends that a full environmental assessment be done and suggests two different cost scenarios depending on speeds. 300 km/h at a cost of $149 million/km 250 km/h at a cost of $55 million/km.
As a cost comparison the 1995 Ontario-Quebec High Speed Rail Study at the 200/250 km/h speed the total cost of the Windsor-Quebec line was $16 billion. Today to do the same speed just the London-Toronto would cost $11 billion.
London to Toronto would be complete by 2025 and expanded to Windsor by 2031.
STUDY RECOMMENDS 3P
Collenette understands that for this high speed rail project to happen it must be a 3P, public-private partnership. High Speed Rail Canada strongly recommends that this 3P move beyond the narrow focus of Bombardier and VIA Rail to companies/countries that have over a half a century of experience in building and operating high speed rail.
NEW GOVERNMENT BODY OVERSEEING HSR IMPLEMENTATION
There is also a recommendation that a new government body would be organized to oversee design and implementation of high speed rail line between Toronto and Windsor within the Ministry of Transportation.
Could high speed rail finally happen in Ontario? We do believe that with the proposed new Federal Government Infrastructure Bank and the Federal Liberals seemingly interested in larger infrastructure projects that maybe the time is right. However at the Kitchener press conference, the Premier stated they had not had any discussions on this subject matter with the federal government. Time will tell if HSR finally comes to Ontario.