May 15, 2015 — Noted rail consultant and policy adviser joins Save VIA

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 15, 2015

Noted rail consultant and policy adviser joins Save VIA

Just a few days after starting the third phase of the Save VIA campaign – “the voting phase” – Save VIA will be receiving a significant boost with a working agreement with Canada’s premier rail policy adviser and consultant, Greg Gormick.

Greg is meeting with Save VIA on Tuesday, May 19, to map out a strategy for the Save VIA Voting Phase that can be turned over to the citizens’ group for input and subsequent approval.

October 26, 2012, was a day which “will live in infamy” for area travellers, who would prefer to use the services of VIA Rail.

On that day, VIA eliminated certain passenger services on the North Main Line running through St. Marys and our area to comply with budget cuts mandated by the federal government. Other VIA trains were reduced from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The fact that rail transportation remains critical to the well-being of the people has evidently escaped the minds of the federal members elected to be responsible to the needs of their constituents.

The benefits and importance of efficient transportation systems to economic growth and our quality of life have been recognized for a long time. Expanded infrastructure and service increases the gross domestic product of Canada by improving the mobility and productivity of resources and people. The presence of rail services influences trade flow, industrial and residential locations, and acts as a magnet for economic growth.

Studies in the United States have shown transportation to be a major component of the economy by employing millions, generating revenue and consuming materials and services produced by related economic sectors. One out of seven Canadian and U.S. jobs is related to transportation.

Canadian experience has proved, in general, that negative circumstances follow any reduction of rail services. Population in the area affected begins to decrease, real estate values decline, tax burdens are spread over fewer residents, thus tax rates increase and disposable income shrinks. In short, the standard of living is at risk.

It could happen here!

The importance of VIA passenger service is akin to the importance of health care: it needs to be available when it is needed.

Those who are in need of VIA services include:

  • Students
  • Those without vehicles or drivers’ permits
  • Immigrants
  • Visitors and tourists
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Business travellers
  • Seniors and pensioners
  • Mennonites who do not use motor vehicles

From an environmental and safety perspective, the removal of passenger services will force more people onto the highways, which are already dangerously challenged.

However, the good news: Canada is a democratic country and thus the people can do something about this. We need to rise up in a civil manner and say, “We are not going to take it”.

With Greg Gormick’s valued assistance on the Save VIA Voting Phase, we can ensure politicians clearly hear the need for enhanced rail service.

Greg starts his work on May 19 with the meeting with Save VIA and MP Irene Mathyssen (London – Fanshawe). More meetings with concerned and committed MPs and federal candidates will follow.

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Chris West,
Save VIA
St. Marys, ON
chriswest@kwic.com
Tel: 519 284 3310 :Fax: 519 284 3160

BOX 1197 449 QUEEN STREET WEST ST. MARYS, ONTARIO N4X 1B7 TELEPHONE (519) 284-3310 FACSIMILE (519) 284-3160

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