The Ontario government released its draft transportation plan for northern Ontario, to deliver on its commitment to build a more comprehensive transportation network for the region.
The plan outlines more than 60 actions to expand highways and transit services, create northern economic opportunities, improve safety and provide reliable travel options for remote and First Nation communities.
Details were provided today by: Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation; Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines; Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and MPP for Nipissin; and, Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and MPP for Sault Ste. Marie.
“Northern Ontario has unique transportation needs and this draft plan will make real improvements to transportation in the region,” said Mulroney. “Our plan will help create a well-connected transportation network for the North to make it easier for people to get to critical services like healthcare, while supporting more well-paid jobs through investments in infrastructure.”
The plan includes improvements to rest areas, expanding bus service and moving forward with highway widening projects on key corridors in the region, such as Highway 11/17. It also includes actions to make further progress on the plan for passenger rail service in the north.
“Our government is proud to deliver a tailored transportation plan that recognizes the unique needs of our vast region to support Northern families, Indigenous communities and businesses,” said Rickford. “This is part of our government’s plan to promote economic recovery across the North and build a modern, connected transportation network that brings opportunities to the hardworking people of Northern Ontario.”
The draft transportation plan is a living document that will continue to evolve. The province is working with the federal government, municipalities, Indigenous communities and organizations, transportation agencies and local businesses to gather input and feedback on the plan.
“Northern Ontario has long been awaiting improvements to create a more interconnected, modern transportation system that meets the unique needs of our communities,” said Fedeli. “Our government’s 21st-century vision for a Northern transportation network includes a plan for providing passenger rail to get people where they need to go, bolster the economic recovery of the whole region, and create new and exciting jobs for workers and families.”
In 2020-21, Ontario is investing $625 million to expand and repair northern highways. These investments are estimated to create or sustain approximately 4,370 direct and indirect construction jobs for the people of Northern Ontario.
“Our transportation plan for Northern Ontario will make life easier for individuals, families and businesses in communities across the North,” said Minister Romano. “This plan will help create a reliable and modern transportation network to connect people to jobs, services and tourism destinations in Northern Ontario.”
Northern Ontario is the region that extends from Parry Sound and Nipissing to the shores of Hudson Bay and James Bay and all the way to the border with Manitoba in the west.
Featured image: Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, announces the release of the provincial government’s Northern Ontario transportation plan.