Weston Community Update

Please join Mike Sullivan, MP York South-Weston, for a Community Townhall Meeting to discuss the Georgetown-Union Station/Air Rail Link

When: Thursday March 8, 2012, at 6:30 pm
Where: York West Active Living Centre, 1901 Weston Rd.

Please join me on March 8th as I provide a community update and impact on Weston as Metrolinx gears up to officially begin construction on the Air-Rail Link later this year.

Guest Speaker: Jonah Schein, MPP Davenport & Ontario NDP Transportation Critic.

As you are aware, the Provincial Government, through its agency Metrolinx, is handling the Georgetown-Union Station/Air-Rail Link expansion that will go through our community. Federally, however, the NDP continues to press for electrification of this line at the outset of service. In addition to Bill C-305, which is Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow's National Public Transit Strategy Bill, Parliament`s Transport Committee (on which I sit) will be studying the issue of rail electrification this year.

The NDP position is that the Air-Rail Link should be electrified before service starts. A study commissioned by the Province clearly shows the benefits of electrification. However, we disagree with the study timeframes that suggest it will take 27 yearsto electrify this line. Other countries have done similar work in 2 or 3 years.

The benefits of electrification are obvious: besides the elimination of diesel pollution, electric trains are quieter, lighter, and faster. They will make it easier to breathe, hear, and to get to work. But the international benefits are clear, too. Canada will be a laughingstock if we become the only country in the OECD world running diesel trains to an international airport.

There are many other parts of this file that Metrolinx seems to have bungled or misled the public on. The Air-Rail Link vehicles are incompatible with GO trains and, although they share stations, they will have to have their own platforms. Moreover, the trains for the Air-Rail Link cannot be transferred to other GO lines without similar new platforms being built.

On the matter of noise barriers, Metrolinx has reacted to public pressure and now will be putting in all the necessary noise barriers. However, we won’t be getting two-way all day service for many years after the construction finishes in 2015. Metrolinx clearly stated during the EA that they would be running 59 GO trains each day on opening day in 2015. Within days of the approval of the EA, Metrolinx backtracked to 29 trains each day, advising that it would be a phased-in approach. Now we are told that the Air-Rail Link takes up so much of the corridor that Metrolinx can't run all-day two-way service until aftera 4th track is installed, at a cost of $400 million. There is currently no funding nor plan to put the 4th track in.

I will continue to keep you informed of any new information that is brought to my attention with regards to the Georgetown-Union Station/Air-Rail Link expansion. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call my office at 416 656-2526, or email me at mike.sullivan@parl.gc.ca. As well, please come to my Community Meeting for an update on the Metrolinx Air-Rail Link, on Thursday March 8, 2012, 6:30 pm at the York West Active Living Centre, 1901 Weston Road—Jonah Schein, MPP Davenport and Ontario NDP Transportation Critic, will be attending.