Premier Wynne to announce Toronto-Windsor high-speed rail project

Bombardier's high speed Zefiro Train is seen in a handout image. Under a proposed plan a high-speed rail line would connect Toronto to southwestern neighbours Guelph Kitchener Waterloo and London as well as Chatham and Windsor

The provincial government is spending $15 million on an environmental assessment to determine the specifications of the fast trains, which it intends to have operating between Toronto and London by 2025 and Windsor by 2031.

Of the two options examined, the preferred one would see a 365-kilometer (227 miles) electric train corridor built with the help of private funds to accommodate trains moving at speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour - cutting the current travel time by more than two hours.

"This is an idea that has been around a very long time. Now this corridor lacks the required frequent, efficient transportation linkages to support Ontario's position as a leader in the knowledge economy".

"It took two hours to get here", said Wynne.

Sarnia's mayor welcomes the announcement of high speed rail for the Windsor to Toronto corridor but stresses there's a desperate need for immediate upgrades in southwestern Ontario.

At $60 million per kilometre, the 350-km line would be a relative bargain compared to the planned one-stop 6.2-km Scarborough subway extension that has ballooned to $3.4 billion.

Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne says the province is taking steps toward a high-speed rail corridor between Toronto and Windsor that will reduce travel times between the cities.

In debate in parliament last week, Sohi said the CIB could fund high-speed rail systems, such as the proposed link between Toronto and Windsor, and another connecting Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta.

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Ramos said: "Not only do they have Alves, they also have Pipa (Higuain), (Mario) Mandzukic, (Giorgio) Chiellini.sparks are going to fly".

"Whether it means accepting a job that previously seemed too far away, visiting family more often or having ready access to the innovators who can take your business growth to the next level - high-speed rail will make a real difference in people's lives and drive economic growth and jobs". Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation.

"This is a precedent-setting project". A GO Train trip from Kitchener to Union Station now takes about two hours.

The announcement comes as the province releases a new report by David Collenette, Ontario's Special Advisor on high speed rail.

In addition to stops in Toronto, Mississauga, London, Chatham-Kent and Windsor, the report calls for trains to stop at Guelph Central Station and the new transit hub to be built at King and Victoria streets in Kitchener.

A government-commissioned report looking at the feasibility of such a project pegs the cost around $20 billion and suggests looking to the private sector for opportunities to partner on funding. "We fund them by engaging the private sector, by mobilizing innovative thinking around that".

With an election set for June 7, 2018, the governing party is desperate to hold its one southwestern Ontario seat - London North Centre, which is represented by Deputy Premier Deb Matthews.

"We have lost opportunities as a province because we haven't had this line in place", she said Friday in London, a mid-point for the rail route.

High speed rail would also be popular in Kitchener and could be helpful to MPP Daiene Vernile (Kitchener Centre) and Natural Resources Minister Kathryn McGarry (Cambridge).

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