Have you heard the latest news on the Niagara GO Rail proposal!?
Today, Monday April 27, is the day that the business plan for the proposed extension of GO Rail service between Niagara Falls and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is to be presented to Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, and it’s looking good thus far.
The committee responsible for the proposal has enlisted the help of retired GO Transit President Gary McNeil as a consultant on this project, and his insight seems to be invaluable.
Released just this weekend, the ‘primer’ to the proposal clearly proves that Niagara is ‘willing to put skin in the game’ by already investing $200k in the proposal, which is scheduled to be presented today.
What does this mean for you?
Let’s run down how the Niagara GO Rail proposal will benefit the Niagara Region and why it’s important enough that the Niagara Region invested $200,000 to back the study and proposed rail service.
Economic Impact for Niagara Region will Create Jobs and Stimulate Local Economy
First and foremost – economic impact.
It is estimated that the GO Rail service between Niagara Falls and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area will have a $195-million economic impact.
Additionally, it is expected to create approximately 3,600 full-time jobs and bring in $8 million in tax revenue.
Furthermore, the summary states a provincial investment in the Niagara GO project would lead to 1,200 full-time construction jobs and another 2,400 full-time jobs related to transit operations.
Convenience for Commuters Due to Rail Expansion
The GO Transit's investment in rail expansion to Niagara represents a significant step toward even more integrated transit connectivity.
With additional stops in St. Catharines and Grimsby, this expanded transit service offers convenience in commuting.
While the GO Transit expansion may slightly increase overall travel time, the summary’s estimated commutes do not take into consideration the GTHA traffic congestion in peak periods. Ask any commuter what it is like to be stuck in highway traffic for two hours while commuting to Toronto, and they would tell you it's an unpleasent experience to say the least.
Travelling by transit also allows the commuter to use that time to relax, do work or read while on GO Rail, resulting in a less stressful way of travel.
The Environment will be Positively Impacted
Since this expansion will lessen congestion on highways it also means it will have a positive impact on sustainability.
Fewer cars on the road mean less greenhouse gas emissions and that means that a positive impact on the environment. And this is a priority in both provincial and local government mandates alike.
Future Economic Growth through Increased Labour Pool
This expansion has the ability to have a transformative effect on the current and future economic and community development of Niagara.
It also contributes to the wider economic and growth objectives of the province.
By connecting to the GO Rail network, Niagara businesses will have a larger pool of potential employees to choose from.
This will hopefully attract more business to move to the Niagara Region knowing that skilled labour is only a short train ride away.
To summarize, the business plan states that expanded GO Rail service in Niagara would also lead to $230 million in travel-time savings; $57 million in vehicle operating-cost savings; $7 million in collision-cost savings and $2 million in environmental benefits.
This is definitely great news for Niagara Region and an opportunity worth investing in!
For more information and to see the full article, click here.