Canada’s federal government on board with funds for Milton rail corridor; exact amount is TBD

Aug. 12, 2021
The federal government is urging stakeholders to submit a proposal for the corridor through the National Trade Corridors Fund.

The governments of Canada and Ontario, as well as Metrolinx, all agree improving the Milton rail corridor in the greater Toronto area to improve the flow of people and goods is a worthy investment. Canada and Ontario also agree the federal government should cover a portion of the costs, but at what amount remains up in the air.

Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra noted the federal government’s commitment to financially supporting the corridor improvements and pointed to the C$1.9 billion (US$1.52 billion) renewal of the National Trade Corridors Fund in the government’s budget 2021 as an avenue to deliver that funding.

Minister Alghabra has discussed utilizing the National Trade Corridors Fund with the province and Metrolinx “to address bottlenecks and increase the capacity of this critical corridor to meet the growing needs of moving people and freight seamlessly through Mississauga and Milton.” The fund is a merit-based program and represents a long-term commitment by the federal government to work with stakeholders on strategic infrastructure projects.

Minister Alghabra said he was “confident we can develop a strong investment plan to deliver real results for business and commuters.”

Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney said she was pleased to hear of Transport Canada’s interest in supporting the project but urged formalization of the commitment with a Memorandum of Understanding.

“Ontario has been seeking a federal partner to make the necessary contribution for this congested corridor to facilitate more passenger rail movements, which can only happen safely when there is improved separation between freight and passenger rail services. With federal funds, we can build additional tracks along the corridor so Metrolinx can run more passenger services safely,” Minister Mulroney wrote in a letter to Minister Alghabra. “Minister, I hope you would agree that the importance of this corridor requires an unambiguous funding commitment. Discussions with federal officials to date only speak to aspirational commitments and do not provide the certainly required to move this project forward.”

Metrolinx’s long-term plan is to deliver two-way, all day service throughout the region on GO’s corridors. The Milton Line operates over tracks owned by Canadian Pacific where freight and passenger trains must share track, resulting in what the federal government called an impact to the fluidity of passenger movements, aka bottlenecks.

A solution to this bottleneck that is supported by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is called the Missing Link Plan, which would construct a new line to connect the CP Line west of Trafalgar with the Canadian National Line that runs through Brampton. The freight bypass would make all-day, two-way GO service possible. Mayor Crombie celebrated the federal government’s recognition that improved service on the corridor is needed.

“I sincerely thank the government of Canada for recognizing the importance of all day, two-way GO service on the Milton Line. The Milton Corridor is the second busiest in the GO Network, but has been underserviced for far too long. By investing in all day, two-way GO, our residents will have another key transit connection to other parts of our City and Region, and the thousands of people who come to Mississauga to work everyday will finally be able to use public transit to commute to and from their places of employment. Expanded service will create more housing starts, greater economic opportunities and help us reach our climate targets by taking cars off the roads," said Mayor Crombie.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.