Province still committed to two-way, all-day GO service to Waterloo Region, economic development minister says

On Thursday, PCs voted against NDP motion calling for GO funding, timeline details

KITCHENER — Ontario’s economic development minister says his government remains committed to bringing two-way, all-day GO trains to Waterloo Region.

“We understand the importance of having that commuter option for people who are travelling to Toronto and from Toronto to Kitchener-Waterloo,” Todd Smith said Friday following a talk hosted by local chambers of commerce.

Smith’s comments came a day after the Progressive Conservative government didn’t support a private member’s bill calling for a firm funding commitment and a clear timeline on implementing the long-awaited service.

The bill from Kitchener Centre NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo called for those details to be released by June 6, before the legislature’s summer break.

“I think the issue with the private member’s bill that was brought forward was that there were cemented timelines regarding funding and we were a week out from the budget, and so it was very difficult for us to be able to support that bill,” Smith said.

“I think the residents of Kitchener-Waterloo can rest assured that our government is committed to this project.”

Asked if next week’s budget would address extra GO service, he said, “I know there’s going to all kinds of great news in the budget, and that’s probably all I can say at this time.”

Smith said the government already has taken steps to bolster service by restoring an afternoon express train that was cut a month earlier, and adding seats to the afternoon commute.

“We’ll definitely continue to invest in transit between Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto.”

Lindo expressed her disappointment following the vote but vowed to keep fighting. “They said that I was ‘playing politics’ by asking them to be accountable to a transparent plan,” she tweeted Thursday.

“Shame on my PC colleagues for voting to keep us all in the dark,” she added Friday.

Smith told the audience that his government is focused on cutting through unnecessary regulation that can hamstring business. “We want to save businesses in Ontario $400 million in the cost of doing business by reducing that red tape.”

Bill 66, which passed this week, aims to reduce specific regulatory burdens, Smith said, including allowing open tendering on public construction projects. A new approach to procurement will make it easier for companies to bid on government contracts. And a red tape “SWAT team” is standing by to help businesses get through obstacles.

Ontario “can once again be that great place to invest and grow and create jobs,” he said.

This article was written by Brent Davis, for The Record. Read his original article here.

Twitter: @DavisRecord