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Canada News Update 8th July 2019

Posted by: Chris Rocheleau
Industry News

Toronto high frequency rail project gets $71 million

The possibility of a high-frequency rail project between Quebec City and Toronto is getting a boost thanks to a $71 million feasibility study.

The rail project would involve building dedicated tracks along the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec City corridor, purchasing new trains and providing a high-frequency service. Connections would also be made to Peterborough, Ont., and Dorion and Trois-Rivieres in Quebec. The goal is a more modern and commercially successful rail service, and encouraging commuters to leave their cars at home to reduce vehicle emissions and result in less highway traffic.

The funding, $55 million of which will be provided by the Canada Infrastructure Bank with $16 million from Transport Canada, will aid in explorations on several fronts, including environmental and financial.

federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said: “We are now committing to do the next phase – which is a critical one – which is to look at the environmental assessment over the 850 kilometres between Quebec City and Toronto, to consult with Indigenous people along that track to look at the acquisition of the lands that will be necessary and to do a financial evaluation of the final costs of this project."

Preliminary studies were encouraging, indicating that people would take the train and that private investors and the marketplace are interested in the project, said Garneau. The high-frequency rail project is expected to cost $4 billion. Full story.

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Pilot infrastructure program to guard Toronto against extreme weather

A new pilot program will help ensure communities across Ontario are protected from future extreme weather damage.

The Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance (MDRA) program, funded by the provincial government, provides financial assistance to eligible communities that face extraordinary emergency response and repair costs after a natural disaster.

As part of a $1 million pilot project, the province will provide municipalities that qualify for MDRA funding with up to 15 per cent above the estimated cost of rebuilding damaged public infrastructure to make it more resilient to extreme weather. Examples could include raising roads to provide better overland flow of water, improving the columns or footings of bridges, or increasing the size of ditches and catch basins to increase their capacity to hold water. Communities affected by spring flooding that occurred after March 1, 2019 are eligible for the enhanced funding.

“This spring we saw the devastating effect of flooding in many Ontario communities,” said Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing, in a statement. “We want to help municipalities build back better – flood damaged roads, bridges and other infrastructure to a higher standard, so it can better withstand extreme weather and we know that some municipalities have limited financial resources to improve local infrastructure. By not having to rebuild the same washed-out road or bridge again and again, communities will save money over the long-term.” Full story.

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