The new Metrolinx Board of Directors established a Community Advisory Committee that will work with Metrolinx to study the electrification of Toronto, Ontario-based GO Transit's entire rail system.
The committee will work with the Metrolinx Board to define the scope of the study. The committee will also recommend the terms of reference to the Board, including the benefits, impacts and costs associated with converting the existing railway from conventional diesel to electric.
After receiving the advice of the Advisory Committee, the Board of Metrolinx will set the terms of reference for the study in fall 2009. The electrification study is scheduled to be completed by December 2010.
The 16-member Community Advisory Committee is comprised of community members with expertise in transportation, environment, engineering, health, urban planning, policy analysis, alternative energy, community leadership, business, finance, law and GO Transit's ridership.
"Metrolinx is very excited to have this outstanding group of community representatives giving us their best advice on this important study," said Rob MacIsaac, Chair of the Metrolinx Board. "We are directing significant Metrolinx resources to ensure that careful consideration is given to all the benefits, challenges and costs. We want to make the right choices the first time when it comes to electrification of the GO system."
This is the first electrification study of the entire GO rail system and will be the most comprehensive study to date of its kind.
"Electrification is a critically important issue and we want to get it right. This excellent Community Advisory Committee will help us do just that," said Rob Prichard, President and CEO of Metrolinx. "Electrification would require a major new investment by the Province. We want to make sure the choices are properly framed in the context of our broader mandate to recommend the best possible investments to improve transportation, the environment, the quality of life and the economy in the GTHA."
The Big Move, Metrolinx's 25-year integrated transportation plan, identified electrified Express Rail and Regional Rail as part of the organization's overall plan for more rapid transit expansion.
A single 12-car GO Train takes nearly 1,700 single-occupancy vehicles off the road and every weekday, more than 25,000 single-occupancy vehicles are removed from roads by passengers taking the train. GO Transit's current fleet of diesel locomotives are among the cleanest available, using technology that maintains emissions consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Act's Tier 2 Emission Standards, according to an agency statement.