Mayors' resolution: Improve Via Rail service

London Mayor Joe Fontana and the working group
of Southwestern Ontario mayors and wardens
crafted a resolution calling on Via Rail to
maintain and improve rail service and frequency
across Canada.  Photo: London Community News
The resolution to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities adopted by Southwestern Ontario Mayors and Wardens VIA Rail Working Group on August 30, 2012 is posted below courtesy of the City of London. 

Transport Action's National Dream Renewed team is working with the mayors. The organization is urging municipal councils across the country to adopt the resolution.

Check National Dream Renewed for more information.

Whereas VIA Rail on June 27, 2012 announced significant reductions in passenger rail service across Canada;

WHEREAS beginning in November 2012 VIA is reducing its service from 3 round trips per week to 2 round trips during off-peak season in The Canadian Corridor (Toronto-Vancouver); and
WHEREAS beginning in  November 2012 VIA is reducing its service by half from 6 round trips per week to three round trips in The Ocean Corridor (Montreal-Halifax); and

WHEREAS effective July 2012, VIA significantly reduced its service in the Toronto-London-Sarnia-Windsor Corridor with further cuts expected in October 2012; and

WHEREAS many communities in Canada have been trying to increase VIA service and improve scheduling to meet the economic development needs of their regions;   and

Whereas the Government of Canada has spent just under $1 billion dollars since 2007 to lay new track, revamp locomotives, improve passenger cars and renovate stations; and

Whereas VIA Rail’s mandate is to provide safe, efficient, more environmentally sustainable and cost effective passenger transportation; and

Whereas a passenger rail network is an integral and vital part of Canada’s national transportation infrastructure and is vital to economic prosperity; and

WHEREAS communities, residents and businesses rely on timely, convenient rail links to other cities and other corridor communities;

Therefore Be it resolved that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) call on VIA Rail to maintain and improve rail service and frequency across Canada; and

Be it further resolved that FCM strike a working group comprised of representatives from across Canada to work with VIA to explore their needs for efficiency while ensuring that communities across Canada have access to a reliable, timely and affordable passenger rail service; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that given the urgency of this issue, its national scope and potential impact on the local economies of municipalities across Canada, that this issue be included in FCM’s messaging during advocacy days and with respect to national transportation infrastructure; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that FCM work with the federal government to ensure that as a principle going forward that federal departments or Crown corporations should consult FCM on major service changes that could affect its members; and

Be it further resolved that this resolution be sent to VIA Rail, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of State (Transport), the Minister of Industry, Provincial Ministers of Transportation, and other VIA communities.

More information is available in an August 31 report from London Community News.