Public Transportation in Northern Ontario will be a Priority for an NDP government
When the Liberal Government cancelled the Northlander passenger train in 2012, it ended an era of consistent and available transportation for Northerners. Since that decision was made, there has been no cohesive public transportation in the North.
Although enhanced bus service was promised to offset the loss of train service, it never happened. The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) was mandated by the Liberal Government to implement full cost recovery for bus services without subsidy; in response, routes were cut, bus fares were raised and stations closed to meet the ONTC’s targeted financial expectations.
An NDP government under Andrea Horwath will give Northerners the tools they need to re-instate train service and develop a stable, service-oriented rail/bus system that meets the needs of small and large communities throughout the vast geography of Northern Ontario.
Once elected, the NDP will direct a revitalized Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to work with industry, unions, communities and individual citizens on how best to provide proper rail and bus service. Like the GO Transit service in Southern Ontario, the ONTC will be provided with both infrastructure capital and a proper operating subsidy.
It will then be up to Northerners themselves to help decide on how best to:
- Return passenger train service to North Eastern Ontario
- Enhance bus service
- Establish practical rail & bus schedules
- Identify communities of Interest/Need
- Utilize equipment resources
- Enhance freight service, possibly to support a future Ring of Fire
- Resolve other related issues
“The NDP recognizes that a re-designed public transportation system in Northern Ontario needs to be driven by the people who use the services. Under a Liberal government, it was a decision made at Queen’s Park that killed the Northlander. Under an NDP Government, it will be decisions made by Northerners that revitalize our transportation services. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is a train.”
– John Vanthof, MPP Timiskaming – Cochrane
“How the Liberals allowed a two-tiered intercity transportation policy that on the one hand provide capital and subsidy to service Southern Communities and left the North to fend for itself by very nature made no sense and was highly unfair. An NDP government will put an end to the two-tiered approach followed by the Liberals, and will treat all regions fairly.”
– Gilles Bisson, MPP Timmins – James Bay