22 May 2018 0 Comments Posted By : Dan Taekema

NDP pledge year-round GO rail service between Niagara and Toronto

Transit plan also includes Hamilton LRT project and rail service between Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto

With seasonal GO rail service to Niagara set to begin this weekend, Andrea Horwath is promising to offer daily trains to and from Toronto year-round if she's elected as Ontario's premier.

The NDP leader made the announcement during a visit to St. Catharines Thursday — the latest to support the project all three major parties say they endorse.

Horwath said people in the area have been "squeezed long enough" so it's time regional transit is expanded to connect commuters.

"Everyday people should be able to count on transit in their communities," she said in a media release. "That means taking action to build the transit system that people deserve, no matter where they live in this province."

Metrolinx says year-round service is expected by 2023

Metrolinx currently offers just seasonal, weekend GO service starting on the upcoming Victoria Day long weekend. Trains leave from Union Station and make stops at Exhibition, Port Credit, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. 

Three new stations in addition to Confederation are being built to support the service: Casablanca Boulevard in Grimsby, and upgraded rail stations in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

Spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said Metrolinx is already working to bring weekday rail service to Niagara using Hamilton's Confederation GO Station, which is still being built. That work is expected to be completed by 2023.

Horwath also took aim at Progressive Conservative (PC) leader Doug Ford, saying his proposed cuts of $6 billion could mean less service for train riders and higher prices.

PCs and Liberals also committed to expansion

Melissa Lantsman, spokesperson for the PCs, said the NDP claim is "baseless" and that Ford is "committed to supporting two-way, all-day GO Service which will include the Niagara GO Expansion."

She added the party is also committed to funding for other regional GO train and LRT projects.

The Liberals were also critical of the NDP's announcement. In a statement emailed to CBC News, the party said it is already committed to offering weekday GO service, adding the "NDP have voted against these investments every step of the way."

NDP also promise all-day service for Hamilton

The NDP's transit plan also includes covering half of the operating costs of municipal transit and building a Toronto Relief Line and Hamilton LRT project.

Her commitments to Hamilton also include a promise of all-day GO rail service to Toronto — something that has long been talked about, but still hasn't been delivered.

Officials have been negotiating with CN Rail, which controls much of the rails heading into Hamilton, for years, with the goal of offering more frequent service.

Currently there are only four one-way trains each day.

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