Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Harper not a fan of high-speed rail? He might be changing his mind

"Harper not a fan of high-speed rail link between Que. and Ont.: McGuinty":
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is frowning on a proposal for a high-speed rail link between Ontario and Quebec that would boost the economy and help the environment, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday.

Without federal support, the proposed link between Windsor, Ont., and Quebec City may never get off the ground, McGuinty said.

"I continue to be a big fan of (the plan), as does (Quebec Premier) Jean Charest," McGuinty said.

"The prime minister is not as much of a fan on this score."
Harper does, however, enjoy taking GO trains out of service for the day and making them turn around to face the direction he prefers for his photo ops, as he did last week in Toronto in order to make a political splash in Michael Ignatieff's riding:
"(The photo op took the train out of service for a day, because Mr. Harper insisted the locomotive should face west. “Normally all our locomotives are east-facing,” a GO staffer told me. GO took it over to the VIA yards to turn it around, and then turned it back around after the PM departed)."
I'm sure that didn't cost much.

As for the future of high speed rail in Canada, Mr. Harper may find it hard to ignore the proposition in the future:
In his address to the governors, Mr. Rohatyn noted that President Obama had asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to come up with a plan for financing high-speed rail projects. He said he hoped that that would be a step toward the eventual establishment of an infrastructure bank.
And we do know that the Harper crew do love them some Obama these days...:)

(h/t reader DH on the GO train item)

Update (5 pm): j-rad also highlighting the high-speed rail issue today, "Harper’s high-speed hypocracy."