Calling Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement, yesterday, a “game changer” for this area, Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr, along with partners in the Innovation Supercluster consortium, are extremely pleased that two-way, all-day GO train service will be included in the upcoming 2014 provincial budget.
“We are thrilled that the provincial government has seized this transformational opportunity we presented to them,” Zehr said. “This is a bold initiative – a game changer – and one that will pay huge dividends in the years ahead.”
The province’s decision to improve GO service is crucial to increasing the connectivity of the regional economies of Waterloo Region/Guelph and Toronto/Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The consortium’s business case outlined how increased GO train service will assist in the global competition to attract talent and innovative companies.
Mayor Zehr noted “that strategically using public transit infrastructure to drive economic development and build pedestrian and multi-modal friendly communities is a wise investment.”
As part of the province’s next step toward delivering full-day, two-way train service, a number of improvements to GO’s Kitchener line are planned. These include:
• More trips: by the end of 2016, Metrolinx expects to introduce two additional morning and afternoon peak period trips.
• Upgrades to the rail corridor leading to faster travel times.
• Building a new train layover facility.
Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge added that these investments are critical to this region.
“I am thrilled that the significant advocacy Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph, along with our private sector partners, have undertaken over the past few months, including the development of a business case, has been successful,” Farbridge said.
“The commitment to increased service over the short-term is important and welcome. But it is the investment in the upgrades to the rail corridor and the building of the new train layover facility that is particularly critical to delivering on full-day, two way GO train service. It is very good news that the Province has committed to this infrastructure,” she said.
Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph with the support of the Region of Waterloo, and private sector partners like Communitech, developed a comprehensive business case outlining the opportunity to leverage investments in provincial and regional transit infrastructure. The analysis illustrates the majority of costs to build this system will be met from the potential $542 million in annual personal income taxes that will be generated from the increased economic activity.
Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran noted that there are significant economic growth opportunities in the Toronto to Waterloo region corridor, and attracting top talent in this area has always been competitive. Ian Klugman, CEO of Communitech agrees.
“The number one barrier to tech company growth is attracting and retaining talent,” Klugman said. “Improved GO train service means companies can access and retain the talent they need to grow world-class companies in Waterloo region.”
Halloran added that the Toronto to Waterloo region corridor is significant, not only for Ontario, but the entire country.
“Today’s announcement will ensure the vitality and liveability of our urban centres. This is key as we compete to attract, to retain and to expand the knowledge-based work force that will elevate our existing assets and amenities further. We’re pleased the province recognized our vision and is collaborating with our consortium to make this a reality,” she said.
To read the business case, visit: http://kitchener.ca/DesignatedCommuterLine
The business case, “Innovative Regional Economies and Strategic Infrastructure: the business case for Two-Way Urban Commuter Rail on the CN North Mainline,” outlines the economic imperative and opportunities along the Toronto to Kitchener rail corridor which will help the province and our communities compete for global talent and innovative companies.
The joint request is that a 10-year capital allocation for rail infrastructure be established by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to support full two-way GO Train service on the Kitchener Line (CN North Mainline) in the 2014 federal and provincial capital budgets.
The business case contains cost-savings analysis, maps, ridership estimates and development potential organized in six sections:
• Ontario’s economic growth opportunity
• Building an innovation supercluster
• Innovative cities in the Waterloo region to Toronto corridor
• The geography of innovation
• Proposed two-way GO Train service
• Recommendations and conclusion
• There are 30,000 local tech workers, 34% commute from Toronto/GTA
• There will be an additional 37,000 tech and creative workers in the area by 2031
• 32,000 trips are made daily each way between Waterloo Region and Guelph
• There are 11 million square feet of potential residential growth in transit station areas
• There is $4 billion construction potential in urban growth centres/station areas
• Initial prediction of ridership fares total $5.25 million with net operating costs of $750,000
For more information
City of Kitchener
Laura Johnston, Director
Corporate Communications and Marketing
519-741-2200 extension 7935
City of Guelph
Tara Sprigg, Corporate Manager
519-822-1260 extension 2610
City of Waterloo
Megan Harris, Director, Communications