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Northern Group Pushing Government For Passenger Service

A northern group seeks passenger rail service brought back to the north to stimulate the economy.

Northern Policy Institute, a federally registered charity for educational purposes, has published multiple reports they feel the government must consider.

NPI President and CEO Charles Cirtwill says it is part of their role to propose practical solutions to support sustainable development in the north, especially within transportation.

Cirtwill says the reports highlight how passenger rail service can play a part in mitigating climate change, as well as enhancing economic sustainability for municipalities and First Nation communities.

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He says there are four main proposals from the report:

  1. Conduct a concept development study of restored, reinvigorated passenger rail service.
  2. Conduct a socioeconomic impact study of restored, reinvigorated passenger rail service.
  3. Develop an operational plan for a restored, reinvigorated passenger rail service.
  4. Consider, based on the aforementioned studies and plan, a proposal to provide passenger train service between Toronto and Cochrane, and between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, while preparing for resumption of service from Sault Ste. Marie to North Bay and from Cochrane to Hearst on rail beds that require improvements to enable passenger service.

Premier Doug Ford during his campaign stops in Northern Ontario said he would consider resuming the Northlander passenger rail service.

Since, Northern Development and Mines Minister Greg Rickford has said they have a tremendous opportunity across the region to move about health care, minerals, forestry products all through the province, including Northern Ontario.

However, NDP Deputy Leader and MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane John Vanthof responded to Rickford by saying that is great for freight, but not for passengers.

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