In April 2000, the government announced that it was providing VIA with approximately $402 million in new capital funding. This funding will enable VIA to revitalize its services through the acquisition of additional cars and locomotives to expand capacity, upgrading infrastructure to allow faster train speeds and increased frequencies on some routes in the Quebec-Windsor corridor, and refurbishing stations.
At the same time, VIA was asked to examine its system to determine if there was a business case for expanding its services. Last fall, VIA added a new Toronto-Kitchener frequency, extended a Toronto-Windsor train to Oshawa and extended a Montreal-Toronto train to Aldershot.
The Minister of Transport is presently awaiting a report from VIA on the feasibility of other service changes, including the introduction of service to Peterborough. VIA has met with interested parties such as the municipalities and the Canadian Pacific Railway, the owner of the track. The report will assess necessary capital investments and operating funding requirements as well as the degree of community support. Once the report is received, it will be carefully considered. As VIA’s operating funding has not been increased, the introduction of new service can only be considered if a business case has been demonstrated and if it will not require an increase in VIA’s current funding level.