Kathryn McGarry says some commuters from Cambridge will drive to high-speed rail stations if it means avoiding gridlock on Highway 401. The report by the former federal transport minister concludes that a strong business case supports construction of such a line and anticipates 10 million annual riders by 2041.
"Southwestern Ontario has been waiting on high-speed rail for years", Michael Harris said in a statement.
A request for bids for the design required to support the Environmental Assessment for the full length of the Toronto-Windsor corridor will be issued this fall.
They are businesses and they prioritize freight over passengers - and that's slowed down talk of high-speed rail on those lines in the past. Passenger rail services, such as Via Rail and GO Transit - which are operated by government-affiliated bodies - have to negotiate with CN and CP to use the lines. While much has been made of the potential for high-speed rail to help people live in Toronto and work in Waterloo Region, or vice-versa, London's business community thinks it will help their community attract jobs now going to either Waterloo Region or the GTA.
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Most modern railways-especially high-speed lines-incorporate continuous welded rail or "ribbon rails" on the track bed. Unless they've travelled somewhere in Europe or Asia and have seen it for themselves, North Americans can't envision high-speed rail. Ontario, he added, is "about 50 years behind".
Demands to ease congestion on the province's highways have been louder than demands for high-speed rail.
Low-priced airlines have also provided affordable alternatives to driving or taking a train around the province or to destinations in the U.S. The report states that the Windsor-Toronto area is seeing high levels of economic and population growth.
Canada is the only country in the G7 without high-speed rail.
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Collenette's report emphasizes that among the stakeholders that must be listened to are the Indigenous communities affected by the proposed route.
The announcement is also expected to include a $15 million environmental assessment.
Originally, the province mandated Collenette to analyze the feasibility of fast-train service with stops only at Union Station, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Kitchener, London and Windsor. Consultations were held and there was an opportunity to involve the private sector in the financing and implementation of the project.
The province also argues that high-speed rail could eventually yield $20 billion in economic benefits through automobile operating cost savings, reduced congestion on roads and reduced greenhouse gas emissions and other economic benefits.
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The first option shows that trains could travel at a maximum speed of 300 kilometres per hour, reducing travel time between Toronto and Windsor from four hours to just under two.