On June 3, 2019, I co-signed a letter with NDP Transit Critic Jessica Bell to Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek regarding concerns that the government may be reneging on its commitment to the electrification of the GO network.
PDF of the letter available here. Full text is below.
Hon. Jeff Yurek
Ministry of Transportation
777 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8
June 3, 2019
RE: Is GO Electrification in Jeopardy?
Dear Minister Yurek:
The government announced on May 30, 2019, that it is moving forward on the next stage of the GO Rail expansion program, and that an RFP is being released for the On-Corridor Works project.
Noticeably absent from the announcement, and from the release posted to Infrastructure Ontario’s website, was a confirmation of the commitment to the electrification of the GO network. This absence suggests the government will consider and accept proposals that do not include electrification and permit the continued use of diesel lines.
The commitment to electrification of the GO network is critical. Communities across Ontario have expressed their concern over the continued use of diesel and its impacts on air and noise pollution, including communities in Davenport, the Beaches-East York, the Danforth, Parkdale-High Park, Spadina-Fort York, York South-Weston, and more. The cost of diesel emissions will rise significantly in coming years. Meanwhile, electrification is a zero-emission approach that is better for tackling climate change, health, and our neighbourhoods. Electric trains also have more room for passengers and are able to start and stop more quickly, resulting in higher capacity and service improvements for riders.
Can you please confirm that this government remains committed to electrification of the GO network, and will therefore only consider proposals that include electrification as a central element?
We look forward to your response.
MPP, Beaches—East York
MPP, Spadina—Fort York
MPP, York South—Weston
MPP, Parkdale—High Park
c: Ehren Cory, President and Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Ontario
John Lieou, Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Transportation
Phil Verster, President and Chief Executive Officer, Metrolinx