Masse Rolls Out Need for Speed Campaign
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2011
Masse Rolls Out Need for Speed Campaign: Urges Minister to Convene Regional Stakeholder Working Group & Galvanizing Support
[WINDSOR, ON] Today Brian Masse MP (Windsor-West) is rolling out the ‘Need for Speed Campaign’ urging the Federal Government to prioritize rail investment in Canada. Masse has written the Minister of Transport Infrastructure and Communities Denis Lebel advising him to move decisively toward augmenting Canada’s rail capacity by investing in higher speed rail.
Masse has written Transport Minister Denis Lebel calling on the Conservative Government to invest in Higher Speed rail. To that end he is advising the Minister to convene a Working Group of stakeholders along the Chicago to Quebec City corridor to ensure that rail investments are effective. “Today I am calling on the Minister to create a working group of stakeholders along the Windsor to Quebec City corridor from government and the private sector to work to ensure that higher speed rail investments become a reality and are implemented effectively.” He stated.
Currently Canada has no higher speed rail networks—the only G8 country without this capacity. Rail experts, NGOs, elected officials from all levels of government and across party lines have indicated support for significant upgrades to Canada’s rail capacity. There is widespread consensus that the Windsor-Quebec City corridor is an ideal route to begin the process of addressing this glaring infrastructure deficit.
Masse elaborated: “Rail investments are critical to our future economic growth. Countries all over the world are investing in rail and the unfortunate reality is that we are lagging behind in an increasingly dramatic way. Canada is facing an infrastructure deficit particularly in the context of rail, and in an era when the global challenge to attract investment is fierce we must ensure that we are in the best possible position to remain competitive.”
Going forward Masse will be galvanizing support for rail investments by engaging elected officials, business and labour and the general public. Further announcement about the ‘Need for Speed Campaign’ will be forthcoming as the push to address Canada’s infrastructure needs continues.
September 12, 2011
The Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
House of Commons
Dear Minister Lebel,
I am writing you today urging you and your government to move decisively to make passenger rail investments a priority in Canada. Significant upgrades to Canada’s rail capacity are long overdue and are impacting our ability to compete in the global economy. Currently there are no High Speed Rail networks in Canada, giving us the unfortunate distinction of being the only G8 country without this infrastructure capacity despite having the 5th largest rail network in the world.
The time for study and debate is over; the Canadian government should move swiftly to address this glaring infrastructure deficit.
The advantages of a robust, efficient and competitive rail network are proven across the globe. Developing the capability for higher speed rail in Canada will enhance the economy, the environment, public safety, create jobs across sectors and promote improved socio-economic integration in Canada.
It is well documented that the Chicago the Quebec City corridor is ideally suited to accommodate higher speed rail given the population density and regional economic integration. With the US government investing in higher speed rail from Chicago to Detroit we have an enormous opportunity to create a seamless rail connection that is efficient, fast and viable connecting 5 international cities and over 30 million people making similar investments in higher speed rail through this corridor up to Quebec City.
To bring this initiative forward I suggest that you convene a working permanent group made up of federal, provincial and municipal representatives, rail companies, NGOs, Chambers of Commerce and Labour organizations to address the range of stakeholder strategies to move the Quebec to Chicago project forward. It is important to ensure that when these investments are made they are done right. This working group will ensure that consultation is comprehensive so that measures brought forward to augment passenger rail capacity are effective. It will also act as a compass for investment that increases passenger train efficiency in general.
Our global competitors and partners are aggressively investing in rail. Continuing to allow Canada’s infrastructure deficit to grow puts the Canadian economy at an investment disadvantage. We cannot afford to allow an infrastructure deficiency to stunt future economic growth.
It is crucial that you make this a priority for the Government. I am including a letter my office received from the Michigan Department of Transportation outlining the rail enhancement projects that are currently underway along the Chicago to Detroit line. The letter clearly indicates their interest in developing seamless rail capacity along the corridor through Windsor all the way into the province of Quebec. Senior U.S. national officials and those in State government have publicly indicated their desire to connect into Canada.
Now is the time to make similar investments, economic benefits over the short, medium and long term are well documented. The positive impacts from an environmental standpoint are also evident and make this a worthwhile goal to attain.
I look forward to your response and would be willing to assist to achieve success that so many Canadians want.
Brian Masse M.P.