Apr 03, 2019

VIA Rail officials have not given up on plans to build out a new service between Toronto and Ottawa, passing through and potentially stopping in Sharbot Lake, but the federal budget did not go as they had hoped.

In a short letter to Central Frontenac Council, written the day after the budget, Tiffany Anne Ouimet, Senior Advisor (government and community relations, Ontario and West) said she “wanted to reach out to let you know that we have taken stock of the Federal Budget measures announced yesterday”.

The letter does not go on to reveal what was in the budget, but it is clear by what is not said that the budget did not contain any funding for the project.

“We remain confident in the importance and relevance of High Frequency Rail for our passengers and for bringing communities closer together with a travel solution that will make life easier and unlock local opportunities, while reducing pollution and supporting Canadian growth and prosperity.

“Driven by our commitment to provide the best experience for our customers, VIA will continue to work with Government of Canada officials as they study High Frequency Rail,” the letter says before going on to talk about VIA’s other priorities.”

Then it thanks Central Frontenac for “sharing your perspective on the needs and opportunities in Central Frontenac”.

Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith said that it is her understanding that the letter is a way of letting the township know that “VIA is interested in the project but they realise the government is not supporting this project now, and they don’t know when that will change.”

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