Ontario’s minister of transportation, Steven Del Duca, has issued a statement following the release of a Toronto Star that claimed his ministry interfered with the selection of GO train stations to be built as part of the Regional Express Rail project.
Here is Del Duca’s statement in full:
“In June 2016 Metrolinx’s Board of Directors gave approval for the addition of 12 new GO stations across the network. This decision came as a result of initial business case analysis, extensive consultation with municipal and regional representatives, community engagement and collaboration between the Ministry of Transportation and Metrolinx on wider transit and transportation plans.
As we have learned, building after-the-fact is almost always more expensive and more disruptive, and leads to more regional gridlock in the interim. That’s why I believe that it is critical for Metrolinx to plan and build transit infrastructure as communities grow. My long-standing support for a station at Kirby has been based on the information that it is estimated that within the next ten to fifteen years, approximately 27,000 new residents could live in the area immediately adjacent to the station. In addition, there are several significant residential and employment developments planned for the areas to the west.
As part of approving the additional 12 new GO stations, Metrolinx asked municipalities to demonstrate their commitment to implementing transit supportive land-uses around stations and sustainable station access. It is important to note that the Initial Business Cases are part of a process that is expected to evolve over time, especially as new information becomes available. All proposed new stations require additional technical and planning analysis, environmental assessments, preliminary and detailed design and extensive community engagement.
In the case of Kirby, I recommend that Metrolinx not enter into any contractual obligations until relevant management staff and the Board are satisfied that the updated land use planning information, finalized RER service concept for the Barrie Corridor, station design and cost, and local transit services justify the station. If the aforementioned information is not adequate, then I would recommend that the proposed Kirby GO station be deferred to the next round of consideration at a future date.”