High Speed Rail in Ontario: Message from the Special Advisor

December 2, 2016

Dear Minister,

Just over a year ago, the Government of Ontario asked me to be Special Advisor on its commitment to establish High Speed Rail service in the Toronto-Windsor corridor. Throughout the past year I have worked with a dedicated and talented team of officials from the Ministry of Transportation on the concept, preliminary business case, governance structure, financing, and next steps for delivery of High Speed Rail (HSR).

Over the course of this work I have engaged widely with local municipalities, Indigenous communities and public and private sector stakeholders to obtain their advice and considerations on how HSR should be implemented. I have drawn from the experiences other countries have had with HSR, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Japan and China. There have been thorough market soundings with the private sector, organized by Infrastructure Ontario. All of this work has led me to the conclusion that a business case exists for HSR in the corridor, which would connect Toronto, Pearson Airport, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Chatham and Windsor. I have also concluded that there are opportunities to engage the private sector in financing and delivering the project.

I encourage the Government of Ontario to proceed with: detailed project planning; the environmental assessment process; further engagement with Indigenous communities, and key stakeholders including municipalities, the two national freight railway companies, VIA Rail, Metrolinx (GO Transit) and  regulatory bodies at both the Ontario and federal level; evaluation of appropriate financing and delivery models; and seeking financial approvals.

I wish to thank you and your colleagues for your cooperation throughout the mandate and wish the Government well in delivering its bold commitment to create Canada’s first High Speed Rail service.

Yours sincerely,

Signature of Honourable David Collenette

Honourable David Collenette, P.C., F.C.I.L.T.

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