Grassroots community group Save VIA, chaired by St. Marys businessperson Chris West, says VIA Rail Canada is dying. “But it can easily be revived and improved to deliver major benefits to Canadians if government invests strategically in its full, long-overdue modernization,” stated a news release earlier this week from the organization, sent out to the media in collaboration with Transport Action Ontario (TAO).
The aim of the message was to announce the release of an expert report prepared for TAO entitled “Out of Steam: The Urgent Need to Modernize VIA Rail Canada.”
“The report establishes that a national rail passenger renewal plan would quickly recoup its investment capital through lower VIA operating costs, more service, higher ridership and increased revenue,” explains the news release. “It would also produce private-sector manufacturing jobs in Ontario and economic spin-off three to four times its one-time cost. Southwestern Ontarians would benefit from more and faster state-of-the-art trains, providing substantially improved travel options throughout the region and across the country.”
An official launch for the report will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the historic, municipally-owned St. Marys VIA Rail station, 5 James Street North. The public is invited to attend.