Via lobbying against high-speed rail system that would halve travel time from London to Toronto

PenneyVanderbilt

It’s been called a game-­changer that would transform London’s economy, but if high-speed rail is to come to the region, it would do so over the efforts of the company with a near-monopoly: taxpayer-supported Via Rail.

Via said this week it will ask the federal government to reject calls for high-speed rail and instead embrace what Via wants — its own dedicated track between Toronto and Montreal that would not be high-speed or extend immediately to London.

Gerry Macartney, of the London Chamber of Commerce, said that though Via should look after its business, London and Ontario need a jolt only high-speed rail gives. Americans are building high-speed lines, some on states that border Ontario. “If we don’t find a way to have high-speed rail, they will eat our lunch,” Macartney said Friday.

Momentum for high-speed rail received a boost 19 months ago when the Ontario government commissioned an environmental assessment…

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