Ontario officials plan $21B Toronto–Windsor high-speed rail
- Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, announced plans Friday for a $21 billion high-speed rail system that will connect the cities of Toronto and Windsor, according to CBC News.
- The train, which would cut the commute time between the two cities in half, would stop at several cities along the route, as well as connect riders to the Toronto Pearson International Airport. The project would be funded through Canada's new infrastructure bank as well as private investors, The Star reported.
- The rail system will come in two phases, with the first $12 billion phase establishing service between Toronto and London by 2025. This splitting of the project, however, has led Windsor officials to express concern that they could be cut out of high-speed rail plans if the second phase of the project is delayed or killed altogether.
The second phase of the rail project is scheduled to reach Windsor by 2031. A high-speed rail line between Toronto and Windsor could also be of benefit to tourists and business travelers coming across the new $2 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
Canada is providing the upfront funding for the new bridge, and Michigan will repay its share with toll revenue. The bridge will be built under a public-private partnership, but a team has yet to be selected. The project got a boost in February when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump both urged an accelerated construction schedule.
High-speed rail has had a hard time gaining traction in the U.S. Some state legislators in Texas and residents along the path of a proposed bullet train from Houston to Dallas have fought against the proposed project there. Similarly, developers have faced pushback against their plans for a $4.2 billion bullet train from Minneapolis to Rochester, MN, over fears that it would ruin the rural landscape and bring down property values.
The only major high-speed rail to break ground in the U.S. is the California bullet train, which is currently underway but has seen its share of hurdles. The project has been under a microscope since The Los Angeles Times ran a series of investigative pieces about it, suggesting that rail officials weren't entirely honest about the rail's chances of success when officials with the California High Speed Rail Authority applied to state lawmakers for funding. The system, however, has continued ahead despite those questions, as well as unanticipated costs, route changes, land-related delays and a legal fight over the authority's right to initiate a $1.25 billion bond sale to fund construction.
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