VIA Rail officials, local rail advocates set to meet April 29 in Sarnia, Ontario

April 9, 2016

By Barbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer

More federal funding could be coming down the tracks for Via Rail, but it’s not nearly enough to fully restore and grow the passenger rail service, says Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.Website Insert Perfect Answer copy

“As a rail advocate for many years, I was looking for a much more dramatic statement on the future of the passenger rail service in Canada, and the budget didn’t reflect that,” he said Monday.

The federal government has pledged $45 million – including $11 million of multi-year commitments – to Via Rail for capital improvements and for technical studies in its 2016 draft budget released last week.

A total of $34 million – more than half of the pledged funding – will be earmarked for capital improvements at Via Rail stations and maintenance centres, according to the draft budget.

But Bradley pointed out the Sarnia station’s current need is staffing rather than capital improvements after Via Rail laid off three ticket agents back in 2012.

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