The province of Ontario has launched the first study into the effects and benefits of building a high-speed rail line linking Toronto and Windsor. The proposed rail line, stopping in Guelph, Kitchener, London, Chatham, and Windsor, would be a $20 billion project, expected to be functioning by 2025, with completion by 2031.
The current $15 million study is looking at the impacts of laying down high-speed rail lines, and whether it will promote improved networking between cities or break them apart as some rural community dwellers are claiming. Those individuals aren’t as sold on the idea as those traveling between the major suburbs, claiming that rail lines will disrupt roads and make it difficult for vehicles to cross the tracks. Naysayers have suggested an alternative such as a high-performance rail, which makes use of existing tracks instead of creating a new, potentially disruptive infrastructure.
Proponents believe there are many benefits from installing a high-speed rail line. Passenger travel times will be decreased dramatically and transit options will be more accessible for more residents. The rail will reduce costs in vehicle operation and parking for individuals, not to mention less road use, delaying road degradation and saving government and tax payers’ money. Many people will have easier access to jobs, encouraging more consistent employment, and over time, working to decrease the province’s unemployment rates.
Moving forward on the project, the High-Speed Rail Advisory Board has been appointed to work with the public, indigenous communities, government, and associated stakeholders to monitor and oversee the implementation of the system. The committee is made up of innovative and technology-driven representatives. They will be able to provide educated insight and expertise into the project and its plans as it progresses through each stage.
With plans in place to continue pursuing the development, it is a bold step in seeking to make Toronto and surrounding areas more accessible to everyone, closing in the urban sprawl and bringing residents of the Toronto-Windsor corridor closer to the downtown core – at least when it comes to travel. And while some may oppose it, claiming that it is only for progressing forward in an election bid, there is merit to cutting travel times by nearly 50% for more than 7 million people supporting nearly 3.4 million jobs.