One of the files I’ve been working on since I was elected is our transportation links to nearby communities.
Our former MPP, Dave Levac, worked to get GO service to Brantford and was ultimately successful in getting bus service linking Brantford-Brant to the train line at Aldershot.
But we still need to push hard to get train service right to Brantford.
Another link needing some work is our connection to north, Waterloo. Waterloo Region is a growing centre of the high-tech industry which means a lot of new jobs in cutting-edge sectors. It’s important for Brantford-Brant to be plugged into that.
The previous government started a study for a new Highway 24 but not much progress was made.
What we need is some innovative thinking on both of these.
I called my friend Stan Cho, who is the Associate Minister of Transportation, and talked to him about the future of GO service. I asked him if he’d been interested in working with municipalities to get some written agreements about potential locations for future GO stations. Then the municipalities could do some planning around that and promote development that would take advantage of a new GO service.
We could also set some criteria that would trigger the extension of GO train service. Then everyone would know the targets and work toward meeting them.
When it comes to Highway 24, there’s an urgent need to do something. Serious accidents are common on the existing highway. As a volunteer firefighter from St. George, I’ve been called out to some of them. Every time someone is killed or hurt it’s a tragedy and it needs to be addressed.
I never liked the idea of the original proposal from the province for the new highway because it’s basically the province coming in and telling our communities what they were going to do.
Instead, I’ve been talking to mayors, other MPPs and the Ministry of Transportation about having the municipalities work together to co-ordinate their own transportation plans. They can conceptualize where we could put a new road and transit links so we can move people and services north. Then they can take that to the Ministry in a united front.
On both issues – GO and the north-south tie – the response has been strongly positive from the mayors and others involved.
For me, it’s an exciting part of the job – working to bring people together to find solutions.