The March federal budget supported the need for VIA fleet renewal in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. Requests for funding proposals will soon begin, and will address many of the critical issues affecting comfort, accessibility, and on-time performance in the corridor. There are 9100 seats in the corridor. Push-pull technology, accessible train entry, increased mobility accommodation, and increased fuel efficiency will be key factors in the new fleet. Locomotives will meet a higher environmental standard, and in some cases may employ bimodal technology, enabling both electric and diesel power for shared track and stations. The government also allocated 8 million for initial work to begin on the VIA proposal for high frequency rail in the Toronto-Quebec City corridor, exploring market, funding partnerships, and revenue. We welcome the fleet renewal announcements and look forward to increased frequency, reliability and integration with all levels of public transportation in SW Ontario, the key concerns for gettingthere.ca.
Provincial transportation budget announcements thus far have focused on municipal infrastructure, including subway and light rail support, along with road improvements. Attention was also given to cycling infrastructure to encourage more use of active transportation. The Province is investing more than $90 million in 2017–18 to support commuter cycling across the province as part of the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program. At this time, decisions re: recipients of Community Transportation grants dealing with inter-city bus transport have not been released. Assistance in this area would enable communities in SW Ontario beyond the GTHA to access public transportation to reach services and jobs in larger centres, as well as reaching major transit hubs.