Long-Term Transportation Plan Needed to Address Northern Ontario’s Transportation Needs: Greater Sudbury Chamber and Ontario Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce release key transportation recommendations to better serve needs of businesses and residents
GREATER SUDBURY, December 03, 2018 – Today, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce co-released Moving Forward: A Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs Part I, a policy report calling on the Ontario Government to develop a Long-Term Transportation Plan to address the current and future transportation needs of the province.
In a recent survey conducted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, 60 percent of Ontario businesses rated existing transportation infrastructure as poor and that problem is even starker in Northern Ontario. A survey by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce revealed that 76 percent of businesses are concerned about Northern Ontario’s infrastructure and transportation deficit. With much of the existing infrastructure in Ontario built in the 1950s and 1960s and nearing the end of its useful life, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the costs of investments are high, but necessary. Ontario is far behind when it comes to building new and maintaining existing infrastructure.
“Our members have told us they are concerned about a transportation deficit in Northern Ontario, particularly with regards to availability of passenger rail and the four-laning of Highway 69,” said Michael Macnamara, Chair of the Board of Directors, Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. “The province needs to implement a long-term strategic plan that addresses the needs of Northern Ontario’s residents, starting with committing funding to complete the four-laning of Highway 69 on an expedited schedule.”
Greater Sudbury’s businesses remain concerned about the delay in completing the four-laning of Highway 69. Investing in highway infrastructure in Northern Ontario is key to developing and sustaining the local economy and community. Completion of the project would bring economic benefits to the entire province, as it would improve safety, reliability, and inter- and intra-provincial mobility.
“Transportation is the backbone of our economy, affecting the movement of people and goods and the everyday lives of Ontarians and businesses,” said Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Yet, congestion, limited transit connectivity, population growth, aging assets, unique regional needs, and a historic under-investment in infrastructure have led to a significant gap between the actual and needed infrastructure in Ontario. This has led to real challenges faced by Ontario residents and businesses every single day.”
The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce developed thirteen tangible and pragmatic transportation recommendations for a stronger Ontario within three key areas of opportunity. This approach will help to address the current and future transportation needs of the province with a focus on:
- transit planning governance;
- moving people and goods by rail; and
- autonomous vehicles.
Among the report’s thirteen recommendations include calling on the provincial government to establish Transportation Ontario, an independent planning authority to advise the Ministry of Transportation, develop a 30- to 50-year Long-Range Transportation Plan, and partner with the Canada Infrastructure Bank to secure funding for critical rail projects in both Northern and Southern Ontario.
The report points to short- and long-term opportunities, including CN Rail’s Milton Logistics Hub, the use of advanced signaling technology to increase capacity on subways, VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail proposal, bringing two-way all-day GO Train service to the Innovation Corridor, developing ‘Union Station West’, and the return of passenger rail to Northern Ontario.
Read the report Moving Forward: A Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs Part I here.
Read a synopsis of the report here.