QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Municipal Affairs critic, Jeff Burch, tabled a motion today that would see GO Transit service to the Niagara region expanded to year-round service.
Burch, who represents the riding of Niagara Centre and who has been a long-time advocate for year-round service, says it would help maximize local economic development, help families and communities thrive while relieving congestion and gridlock.
“For too long under Liberal and Conservative governments, Niagara communities have had to rely on shoddy transit options and it’s time we changed that,” Burch said. “Instead of spending valuable time at work or with loved ones, people are spending too much time stuck in gridlocked traffic. As my first piece of legislation as an elected member, this was an important one to champion and bring forward.”
Previous governments have paid lip service to GO train expansion yet, years later, Niagara communities are still left without it. Reports indicate that expanding the service would inject $195 million into the Niagara region, create 2,400 new permanent full-time jobs with an additional 1,200 part time as well as connecting communities between Niagara and the GTA to more opportunity. Additionally, Metrolinx reports that 2015 and 2016 seasonal service saw approximately 25,000 passenger trips however last summer saw ridership soar by almost 50 per cent.
“We’re tired of empty promises by both Liberal and Conservative governments and it’s time we finally made year-round GO service a priority,” Burch said. “Our communities are tired of Ford’s waffling. Fast, convenient, and affordable transit is the best way to break gridlock, help our economy grow, and help families spend more time together.”
Year-round GO service has long been championed by area-NDP MPPs Wayne Gates and Jennie Stevens. Burch’s legislation has also received wide-spread support from municipal leaders, the federal representative for the St. Catharines region, as well as the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.