Congressman: Plans for new Canadian train service could provide WNYers direct link to Toronto, open new door for Canadian visitors to Niagara Falls
Congressman Brian Higgins is advocating for a direct binational pedestrian connection to accommodate Canadian GO Train passengers and better facilitate cross-border tourism.
Higgins' push comes following a June 28 announcement by Ontario's transportation minister of expanded GO Transit service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The GO Train stop at the Via Rail Station in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is in close proximity (just a three-minute walk) to the Whirlpool Bridge connecting the U.S. and Canada. The Whirlpool Bridge currently does not allow for pedestrian crossings.
In a letter sent by Higgins to parties overseeing bridge operations, the congressman called for the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canada Border Services Agency to begin work now to establish pedestrian access at the Whirlpool Bridge between Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Higgins pointed out visitors crossing the Whirlpool Bridge on foot could hop on the new Discover Niagara Shuttle, which provides a direct connection to 14 of the top tourist destinations in the Niagara Region.
GO Transit is the public transit service for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, carrying more than 65 million passengers a year. The Ontario government announced plans to install 60 kilometers of new track, build new stations and refurbish several existing stations in order to provide regular daily commuter service to Ontario's Niagara Region.
Provincial authorities indicated new construction would be evident next summer, with the first new train service in 2021, and train service fully implemented in 2023.