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Boost GO service in area, report urges

The cities of Guelph, Kitchener and Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo want to see two-way GO train service to the area included in the 10-year capital portion of the provincial government’s 2014 budget.
A 90-page business case, documenting benefits such service would have for the regional and provincial economy, was recently presented to provincial officials. Recipients included officials at the office of the premier, the ministry of transportation, the ministry of economic development, trade and employment and at Metrolinx.
“This is about job creation and our ability to attract and retain the best and brightest minds,” Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr said in a news release. “The Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph and Toronto innovation corridor represents one of the most significant economic growth opportunities in Ontario and Canada. Two-way GO train is the catalyst we need to accelerate urban intensification and enhance sustainability.”
The report from the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel is called “Innovative regional economies and strategic infrastructure: the business case for two-way urban commuter rail on the CN North Mainline.”
It notes that two out of every three new tech companies in Canada are founded in the Waterloo area, the release said.
An improved intercity transit service from Toronto to the Waterloo area would create “a globally-competitive tech ecosystem” with more than 12,800 companies, 2,800 startups and 205,000 tech employees, it said.  “We are seeing incredible opportunities and advances as we link our regional strengths together,” Mayor Karen Farbridge said in the release. “Guelph’s innovation contribution is unique but dependent on the whole to succeed. We recognize two-way GO service as a key piece to unleash the potential of this entire region.”
After years without the green trains travelling the local rails, GO Train service through Guelph between Kitchener and Toronto started up again in December 2011. The service is primarily aimed at commuters to the GTA, with two eastbound trains through Guelph in the mornings and two westbound trains stopping in the city in the evenings, Monday to Friday. GO buses also serve the area.
There is a growing need for improved transit between downtown Toronto, Guelph and Waterloo region, the release said.
Full-day GO bus service could establish ridership patterns and would address immediate needs for improved transit, it said.

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