Monday, October 5, 2009

18 Strict Conditions Placed On Metrolinx Diesel Rail Transit Expansion

Just hot off the press. It has been decided that this GSSE/UPRL diesel expansion has been allowed to go forward with eighteen conditions for monitoring health risks, and using Tier 4 diesel, to be built by 2015.

To be honest, I am too angry to write, but I consider it tremendously important that those in the corridor have access to this information. The link to the press release and PDF of eighteen conditions is here: http://www.news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2009/10/strict-conditions-placed-on-metrolinx-rail-transit-expansion.html

"The conditions on the Metrolinx approval would help us deal with the health and environmental impacts from transit growth. As we work to improve transit, we must protect the health and well being of citizens who may be affected by these projects."
— John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment

Yes, Minister Gerretsen, when did you privilege the right for urban expansion, and 905 developers, to build homes beyond the green belt, and to run diesel trains for passengers who do not exist yet, over the health and welfare of 300,000 residents who live in the GTA corridor?  These are the people whose health and well being must be protected. What doublespeak- when you analyze Minister Gerretsen's remark, it is actually nonsensical as it points out that there is a need to protect those who will be affected by these projects. How about no affect at all, as with electric trains? Shame.

I have lost all faith in all levels of government, and governmental protection agencies, particularly those run by the provincial Liberals and federal Conservatives. There is no such thing as clean diesel, and there is nowhere else in the world that is using diesel trains in cities. Vancouver has the quiet, electric Skytrain, and Calgary has a train powered by wind turbines, and Toronto has hypothetical Tier 4 'clean' diesel trains as an 'alternate' infrastructure, which has not been tested on a population's health yet as it does not commercially exist.  

Our communities are going to be used as an environmental test case for unproven technology and scientifically untested diesel fuel. As some online sage said, "Is clean diesel the same as clean coal?"  Metrolinx is going to run an experiment on the GTA, and we are going to pay for it with our health so they can learn how to mitigate the effects of Tier 4 diesel fuel.  Note that this 'clean diesel' measure will in no way address vibration or noise issues as diesel trains are twice the weight, vibration and noise of electric trains. Therefore, many concerns sent to the Minister of the Environment are not addressed about the impact of this rail corridor on our communities with this decision. 

There is something very rotten in the State of Denmark with this project, and Crown Agencies, such as Metrolinx, which think they have the right to lie to taxpayers, poison our children, and pollute our neighbourhoods.

Please, take 5 minutes to call or email:

Dalton McGuinty
Tel: (416) 325-1941
dalton.mcguinty@ontario.ca, dmcguinty.mpp@liberal.ola.org, dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment
Tel: (416) 314-6790
minister.moe@ontario.ca

Jim Bradley, Minister of Transportation
Tel: (416) 327-9200 
minister@mto.gov.on.ca

George Smitherman
Tel: (416) 327-6758
gsmitherman.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Keep your message short and to the point. I suggest: 
"Premier, our children need clean air.  Electrify the Georgetown Corridor Now!"

"Minister, demonstrate your commitment to Ontario's Green Agenda. Electrify the Georgetown Corridor!"

"We believe in clean, green, and modern transit. We demand electric trains!"

For more analysis, see Steve Munro: 'Weston Corridor GO/UPRL Approved, But With Conditions' at http://stevemunro.ca/?p=2705

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

as usual you are acute and to the point. The game has clearly changed, and it seems that the population of Toronto are really left with absolutely no effective political voice. Staggering. Corrupt. Really Stupid.

Mike H. said...

Skytrain is a municipal transit system that's like the Toronto subway. BC also has the same trains that GO uses. Montreal and many American cities have electrified regional rail.

But who has what is not the point. We have a situation where a historic expansion of commuter rail is planned through dense urban communities. The pollution and noise will be high. Even supposedly cleaner new engines will deteriorate as they age and spew more fumes, and passenger rail traffic will only increase. The most logical option is electrification if the government is interested in keeping existing communities livable.