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Peterborough - Toronto rail link derailed?
Published: March 28, 2008
Source: Peterborough Examiner
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Peterborough residents will get GO Transit bus service to Oshawa, but the proposed Peterborough-Toronto commuter rail link will have to wait, the provincial and federal governments announced yesterday.

The province put the revival of a Peterborough-Toronto commuter rail link on a back burner, diverting federal funding towards projects such as GO Transit rail service to Bowmanville and bus service to Peterborough.

Instead of upgrading the rail bed to handle commuter trains, the provincial and federal governments will pay for a study on the proposed rail link.

Initial releases referred to the commuter rail study as a "feasibility study." That reference was later changed on both the prime minister's website and Ontario premier's website to a "joint study."

The provincial government has stated it needs details before it can commit to the Peterborough-Toronto rail service mentioned in the federal budget speech last month, Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal told The Examiner.

"This study will provide those details that are needed and the business case to look at this project in the future," Leal said. "There's a lot to do here before this potential service gets up and running.

"The feasibility study is a very key step in moving this project forward."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of a public transit capital trust with $195 million in funding for Ontario yesterday.

Among the provincial commitments from the fund will be a study for a Peterborough commuter rail line, the acceleration of the extension of the GO Transit line to Lakeshore East to Bowmanville and the establishment of regular GO bus service to Peterborough, the Office of the Prime Minister states in a release.

The federal government is setting aside money in the Build Canada Fund - a $33-billion federally controlled program - to ensure the Peterborough-Toronto commuter rail link gets built, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told The Examiner.

"The province has some priorities in different parts of the province and different parts of the (Greater Toronto Area)," the MP for Whitby-Oshawa said. "I found over the years that we really had to push the province to look east of Toronto.

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