July 18, 2017 8:08 am

London city councillors on board with high-speed rail

City Hall at 300 Dufferin Ave. in London, Ont.

980 CFPL File

City politicians have thrown their support behind high-speed rail for London.

The civic works committee voted to make the project a priority for the Forest City even though much of the work will be done by the provincial government.

READ MORE: Future of high-speed rail to be discussed by city committee

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The first phase of the high-speed rail project, which was confirmed by the Liberal government two months ago, would link London to Toronto by 2025.

The city will look for ways to integrate high-speed rail, VIA rail, London’s bus rapid transit plan and even the Greyhound bus into a mobility hub downtown.

“I see this as an opportunity where the province needs to come forward, purchase real estate, design a corridor that works for us, and that could also benefit us in many other ways,” said Mayor Matt Brown.

“Many of those at-grade crossings could be eliminated and we could see those trains come right into our downtown and connect us with Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Toronto and eventually with Windsor. This is extremely exciting.”

Coun. Virginia Ridley echoed the mayor’s sentiments.

“It will be a good thing for London,” said Ridley.

“I think that we need to continue to endorse and be supportive of the project and continue to be involved with it, receiving regular updates and providing input where it makes sense for us to do that.”

READ MORE: Kathleen Wynne rolls out high-speed rail plan

Concerns were raised by Coun. Harold Usher that the location for the proposed downtown transportation hub could create congestion and noise. He suggested it be moved closer to the highway 401 corridor or along Sunningdale Road in the north end of the city.

The committee voted unanimously to endorse the project as a priority for London as well as a request to have the mayor submit a letter to the premier and minister of transportation reaffirming London’s support for high-speed rail.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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