MASSE QUESTIONS MINISTER ON LEAKED AND FLAWED REPORT

HSR Study Completely Ignores Crucial Data Regarding Impact US Market and makes Alarming Recommendation

[OTTAWA, ON] The recently leaked feasibility study commissioned by the Federal Government in partnership with the province of Ontario and Quebec is fundamentally flawed and should have taken into account the complete potential marketplace according Brian Masse MP (Windsor West).  Additionally the report recommends the elimination of rail service in smaller communities
along the corridor.  Today Masse asked Transport Minister Denis Lebel in Question Period about how he could have allowed a study on the feasibility of High Speed Rail (HSR) to proceed ignoring such a crucial component of the economic picture.

“The Minister has been sitting on this report for months, now we know why...the report is deeply flawed and politically problematic.  How can you study the economic feasibility of investment when you completely ignore millions of your potential customers?  AIso I wonder how people in small communities along the Windsor to Quebec City corridor would have responded to a government report advocating the elimination of rail service in their communities prior to the Federal election?  The Minister needs to pan this report and create a working group that will oversee the immediate augmentation of rail capacity along the corridor starting with developing seamless cross-border rail capacity at the Windsor/Detroit so that we can begin to understand the true market potential for further rail investments.”

The leaked study is methodologically flawed and does not take into account significant rail investments in the United States particularly along the Chicago to Detroit corridor.  Nor does it consider the potential impact of creating seamless
cross-border rail capacity at the Windsor/Detroit checkpoint that would introduce millions of potential customer into the economic feasibility of HSR.

Masse's Question and the Minister's Response:

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, that is a very slow
read. This leaked report is suggesting we abandon passenger rail in southern
Ontario and ignore its connections with the U.S. Higher-speed rail from Quebec
City to Windsor and on to Chicago should be a priority. The United States is
moving forward, investing hundreds of millions of dollars while Canada just
studies the issue. Even Uzbekistan is rolling right past us, building
higher-speed rail.

Will the minister create a stakeholder working group today to ensure that higher-speed rail from Windsor to Quebec City happens and we connect into Chicago?

Will the minister act and bring the stakeholders in and see some action for a change?

    Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency
of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, this MP already
knows I will work hard for a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit. He knows it is long. We have a lot of démarche to do and we have a lot of work with the
U.S.A. and now we want to be getting something for Chicago. How many years are
they saying it will take? For now, the study was received by the government. We
will study it and then the Province of Ontario will name their new minister of
transport and we will discuss it with him or her.