Task force formed to tackle transportation infrastructure in Southwestern Ontario
A NEW TASK force aimed at revitalizing southwestern Ontario’s transit network is being formed, the province announced on Tuesday.
Mayor Ed Holder will chair the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Task Force, with Windsor’s mayor, Drew Dilkens, as vice-chair. The task force is hoping to focus on city-to-city transit services like rail and bus travel, as well as local public transit services. The task force is planning on holding its first meeting in May and has been given a year to return further recommendations to the provincial government, though Holder has said they are hoping to accelerate that timeline.
The task force was one of 40 recommendations made over a year ago, as part of the Connecting the Southwest: A Draft Transportation Plan for Southwestern Ontario report released in January 2020.
“Improving how people get around their communities, how they travel across Ontario, and how they travel to and from work are all absolutely essential components of building a strong post-Covid economy,” Holder said in a press release. “We are tremendously excited to get moving on this important work.”
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“We’re working to address transportation needs in regions across Ontario and feedback from leaders who live and work in the local community will be essential,” adds Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s minister of transportation. “The Southwest Task Force will ensure transportation plans for the southwest reflect the diverse voices within the community and help determine the most important transportation needs in the region.”
Areas of interest for the task force include safety improvements to the 401 outside of London, as well as improved connections between cities by rail. Better rail service between SWO communities, and SWO and Toronto, is generally viewed as an issue that must be tackled if regional transportation is to improve.
“As our region has grown over the past few years, our transit and transportation networks have just not kept up,” notes Windsor mayor, Drew Dilkens. “Premier Ford and Minister Mulroney have demonstrated that they are aware of the infrastructure needs of our region, but through this task force, the government is allowing regional leaders to have a major role in shaping the road ahead.” Kieran Delamont