November 16th, 2016

Wynne Liberals dragging feet on rail electrification

Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo says the Wynne government is falling behind on its promise to electrify the Union Pearson Express line, and burdening Davenport area residents with an unwanted ‘super bridge.’

“Before the last election, the former Minister of Transportation promised that the Union Pearson Express would be electrified by 2017. But after the election, the government said electrification would have to wait until as late as 2024, as a new environmental assessment is completed,” said DiNovo during question period this morning. “That EA was supposed to have been completed last month, but it hasn’t even started. Instead, the government announced another ‘pre-consultation,’ further delaying progress on electrification.” 

DiNovo says the long-promised electrification is taking a back seat to an unwanted ‘super-bridge’ that will carry rail traffic above road level for nearly two kilometers.

“The minister is willing to accelerate the construction of a 1.5-kilometre bridge that will carve a scar through the Davenport neighbourhood,” explained DiNovo. “The minister refuses to consider the benefits of a tunnel or a trench, as proposed by the city of Toronto, instead of the super bridge, and it’s becoming clear that the trains running along this bridge will in fact be diesel, not electric.” 

Toronto City Council passed a motion opposing the bridge, but has no authority to stop the Metrolinx-driven construction. The rail project has also received wide-spread community opposition over noise, construction, and pollution concerns.

DiNovo urged the Minister to take residents’ concerns to heart, and move forward with electrification.

“Why is the minister fast-tracking a 1.5-kilometre super bridge through Davenport and steamrolling over community concerns, while dragging his feet on the electrification of regional express rail and the UP Express?,” she asked.