The long-awaited Environmental Assessment to study the electrification of the Union-Pearson Express is coming in 2014, with advertising set to appear in many community newspapers along the Kitchener-Georgetown corridor.
Both Metrolinx and Hydro One will be running parallel EAs on the subject, which will include community consultations.
Electrification is not guaranteed. It is dependent on implementation of the “Metrolinx Investment Strategy” — in other words, on the Ontario government supporting new revenue tools to pay for Metrolinx “Big Move” transit projects, of which electrification is just one.
The UP Express, meanwhile, is going ahead as a carcinogenic, high-priced diesel service designed for the downtown business class, with only two stops in communities along the 25 kms between the airport and Union Station.
Members of the Clean Train Coalition have been advocating for electrification for more than 10 years. The EA is a step in the right direction, but electrification likely remains many years away.
Make electrification an election issue in spring 2014, as an Ontario general election is highly likely. Make sure your candidates support electrification.