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Politicians say they’re ready to GO

The fate of GTA GO link for Niagara now rests in province’s hands: Caslin

By Mike Williscraft

Niagara’s politicians banded together Tuesday to show their solidarity on the drive to bring GO Transit to the Region.

The vast majority of key players were on hand for a press conference which set the table in terms of the research that has been done, the strategy established and “ask” of the provincial government.

““The level of cooperation and hard work by all municipalities and community leaders on this initiative is unprecedented in Niagara,” said Reg. Chair Alan Caslin.

“We worked diligently throughout the past year to address all major issues and questions raised by the province about our proposal. The Province now has everything it needs to make a decision on daily GO Train service to Niagara.”

The decision regional officials want is a green light to bring daily, year-round GO train service to Niagara with stops in Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

The politicians say the expected cost of $100-$120 million would be worth it if the expected $195 million in positive economic impact to the region is realized.

“Extending full day GO service into the Niagara Region is a critical and affordable investment for the Province of Ontario,” said Grimsby Mayor Bob Bentley.

“The returns on this investment are tremendous, not only as an economic game changer for our Niagara Region but also a vital link to opportunities for people and goods between New York City and Toronto, the two largest markets in the north eastern North America.”

Integral to getting the attention of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government has been the development of a solid business case.

The comprehensive assessment includes capital and operating scenarios. It was completed and submitted to province in April followed by ongoing and frequent meetings with provincial officials, including the minister and deputy minister of transportation, premier’s office, Metrolinx and GO Transit.

Now, they wait.

The province is now assembling a list of non-GTA expandable communities for consideration in the next wave of GO train expansions.

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