Media Release: Long-Term Transportation Plan Needed To Address Northern Ontario’s Transportation NeedsThe Ontario Chamber Network releases key transportation recommendations to better serve needs of businesses and residents
THUNDER BAY, ON, December 6, 2018
THUNDER BAY – December 6, 2018 – This week, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released Moving Forward: A Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs, a policy report calling on the Ontario Government to develop a Long-Term Transportation Plan that can deliver a strategy for better managing the province’s interconnected transportation assets and serving the needs of Ontario businesses and residents.
The report highlights the recent cancellation of Greyhound bus service and lack of passenger rail in the Northwest. This lack of transportation options outside of personal vehicles hampers mobility for residents and visitors, leaves communities disconnected from one another, limits Northerners’ ability to access jobs and business opportunities, and impacts access to health care for our citizens.
“Transportation is the backbone of our economy, affecting the movement of people and goods and the everyday lives of residents and businesses,” says Charla Robinson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce. “The province must implement a long-term strategic plan that addresses the needs of Northern Ontario and provides the required investment to support those needs, including subsidization of inter-community transit services.”
The Thunder Bay Chamber and the OCC developed thirteen tangible and pragmatic transportation recommendations for a stronger Ontario within three key areas of opportunity. This approach will help to address the current and future transportation needs of the province with a focus on:
- Transit planning governance;
- Moving people and goods by rail; and
- Autonomous vehicles.
The report’s recommendations include calling on the provincial government to establish Transportation Ontario, an independent planning authority to advise the Ministry of Transportation, develop a 30- to 50-year Long-Range Transportation Plan, and partner with the Canada Infrastructure Bank to secure funding for critical rail projects in both Northern and Southern Ontario. The report also points to short- and long-term opportunities, including CN Rail’s Milton Logistics Hub, the use of advanced signalling technology to increase capacity on subways, VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail proposal, bringing two-way all-day GO Train service to the Innovation Corridor, and the return of passenger rail to Northern Ontario.
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