In last month’s e-newsletter, I informed you that construction is scheduled to occur along the Stouffville GO Train line this spring. Metrolinx is building a second set of tracks on a 5 km stretch of rail line in Ward 41 this year and will start construction on the remainder of the 17 km project in 2016.
I have contacted the Ministry of Transportation and Metrolinx to ask a number of questions about this project. My concern centres around coordination between different levels of government and agencies relating to this project. My office and the City of Toronto were not contacted before this announcement was made but the City recently approved $2.4 million in studies relating to SmartTrack. It is imperative that the efforts of Metrolinx, Toronto and Markham/York Region be coordinated in order to successfully implement GO rail service expansion and SmartTrack.
SmartTrack has many more stations than the current GO Train service. It may be premature for Metrolinx to approve contracts for the Stouffville GO line when the SmartTrack studies have not been completed yet. There are still many engineering and technical challenges that need to be resolved.
I asked for clarification to determine if all intersections that intersect with the Stouffville GO line will be grade separated. Currently, the Environmental Study for the Stouffville rail corridor expansion project states that there is a possibility that Steeles Ave. E. will be grade separated from Stouffville GO. This information is important to manage traffic along the east-west streets that intersect with the line.
I also asked for clarification on the hours of operation of expanded GO Train service, frequency of service and what the plans for electrification are. Furthermore, I inquired into the proposed noise barriers for the Agincourt community. I will update the community via my e-newsletter or newsletter once I receive a response to these inquiries.