Joint Statement: Niagara GO Announcement

The plan unveiled today by the Province to bring daily GO Train service to Niagara is great news for all of our communities. We appreciate the collaborative relationship that Premier Wynne initiated with us and that Minister Del Duca continued alongside our local government MPP Jim Bradley.

There is now a firm timeline and we look forward to working with Metrolinx and the Province on this important service for Niagara residents.  Strengthening our connection to and from the GTHA enhances our ability to attract new people to Niagara, creating new opportunities for job creation and business expansion.

Today we are seeing the power of speaking with one voice. This announcement is the result of a strong and united effort across Niagara to make our number one priority of daily GO Train service a reality.

The enthusiastic support of our business community, hospitals, post-secondary institutions and the thousands of residents who lent their voice and passion has played a vital role in making today’s announcement possible.

Niagara Regional Chair and all 12 Niagara Mayors


We submitted a comprehensive business case for the province’s consideration and met with the Minister of Transportation to discuss our plan and how it aligns with Ontario’s goals to strengthen the province’s transportation network and drive economic prosperity.

Niagara Mayors and the Regional Chair, along with senior staff from across Niagara have been meeting regularly with numerous senior provincial representatives. We are confident that our business case is sound. We have worked hard to address all concerns, including long-standing issues like the Welland Canal crossing.

The expansion of Ontario’s GO Train service to Niagara aligns with a new global commitment to address the problem of climate change, underscoring that now is the time for GO in Niagara.

Get the facts


Niagara has been preparing for daily GO Train service by initiating a series of major projects that directly support or align with implementation of daily GO train service.

What it is: A long-term vision for how we travel in and around Niagara, and how we can improve our transportation systems. This plan covers all modes of transportation – driving, walking, cycling, airports and public transit, including daily GO Train service.

When it’s happening: Work on the plan has already started and the final plan is expected to be completed in 2017.

How it sets the foundation for GO: The plan will look at a future transportation network that leverages the benefits of all modes of transportation, including Daily GO Train service.

What it is:  The study will develop conceptual transit station designs and create a planning and transportation framework for the area surrounding each transit station.

When it’s happening: The study is expected to be completed in 2017.

How it sets the foundation for GO:  The study helps Niagara to be ready to implement daily GO Train service as soon as possible following a Provincial announcement and ensure that development that occurs is transit oriented.

What it is: Regional Council and all municipal councils in Niagara who operate transit services continue to support local and inter-municipal transit services in Niagara.  Mayors and CAOs are actively exploring how to take current arrangements further by exploring best-in-class transit solutions that are customer-centric, innovative and seamless both throughout Niagara and across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

When it’s happening: Inter-municipal transit services have been operating since 2011 alongside longstanding public transit services at the local level. Mayors and CAOs, together with technical support teams, are working right now to develop best-in-class solutions beginning with investigating integrated fare payment methods and trip planning applications within Niagara and across the GTHA in early 2016.  Route optimization, particularly improving interconnectivity to post-secondary institutions, is also a priority.

How it sets the foundation for GO: For many customers the daily commute does not end at a GO station.  Integrated public transit solutions are important parts of a multi-modal transportation system that will support daily GO Train service in Niagara.

What it is: Regional Council’s 2016 budget includes $10 million in infrastructure investment to support the implementation of daily GO Train service. An additional $30 million is proposed for the 2017 budget.

How it sets the foundation for GO: Any GO rail expansion outside the GTHA requires local municipalities to make a one-third capital contribution to the overall project. In Niagara’s case, this cost is projected at $100-$120 million.

What it is: Niagara is participating in any opportunity to have input on the legislated review of the Provincial Regional Transportation Plan and Metrolinx strategic reviews. We will continue to participate in forums for exchange of information between Niagara Region, Local Area Municipalities and Metrolinx.  Metrolinx will share information with staff on the progress of their initiatives within the Metrolinx planning area including the update to the “Big Move” Regional Transportation Plan. It is also an opportunity for the Region and locals to share and highlight major growth and transit related initiatives underway in Niagara.

When it’s happening: February 2, 2016 (Metrolinx “Big Move” Workshop)

How it sets the foundation for GO: It signals to the provincial and federal governments that Niagara’s supportive GO efforts and complimentary initiatives are aligned with the Metrolinx direction for transit and GO network expansion.

What it is: Niagara is taking advantage of every opportunity to advocate for daily GO Train service, including making a presentation to the federal and provincial governments as part of pre-budget public consultation process.

When it’s happening: The need for Niagara GO rail expansion investments by the federal government in its 2016 budget were brought forward on January 20, 2016, and included a specific and detailed ask for capital investments. Provincial pre-budget consultations are ongoing and will include a similar request for provincial investment as part of the 2016 provincial budget.

How it sets the foundation for GO: Communities outside the GTHA are required to make a one-third capital contribution to GO expansion. Niagara’s capital costs are estimated at $100-$120 million, with the Region contributing Niagara’s $40 million local share. Federal and provincial contributions are sought for the remaining two-thirds.

What it is: Capitalizing on Ontario’s “Moving Ontario Forward” plan: $31.5 billion in public transit and other infrastructure projects over next 10 years – $15 billion for transit and infrastructure projects outside the GTHA. New federal infrastructure and transit programs are expected to be announced in the coming months as the 2016 federal budget is released.

How it sets the foundation for GO: With dedicated provincial funds set aside for transit and transportation expansion specifically for communities outside the GTHA, significant opportunity exists to ensure investments are made in GO rail expansion through Niagara.

What People Are Saying

“The level of cooperation and hard work by all municipalities and community leaders on this initiative is unprecedented in Niagara. We worked diligently throughout the past year to address all major issues and questions raised by the province about our proposal. The Province now has everything it needs to make a decision on daily GO Train service to Niagara.”
Alan Caslin, Regional Chair
“Last April, the Province told us they heard Niagara’s call for GO loud and clear. Since then our focus was to work diligently on a number of outstanding issues and perceived barriers to daily GO service. We rolled up our sleeves and worked with the Seaway, CN and others, securing the necessary commitments to pave the way for daily GO trains. We did our homework and the result is a solid business case that makes us a leading contender for the next wave of GO Train expansion projects.”
Jim Diodati, Mayor of Niagara Falls
“While providing a viable and sustainable daily service to help move more people, GO Rail will act as a key economic development catalyst for the entire Niagara Peninsula.”
Dave Augustyn, Mayor of Pelham
“Extending full day GO service into the Niagara Region is a critical and affordable investment for the Province of Ontario. The returns on this investment are tremendous, not only as an economic game changer for our Niagara Region but also a vital link to opportunities for people and goods between New York City and Toronto, the two largest markets in the north eastern North America.”
Bob Bentley, Mayor of Grimsby
“The extension of GO to Niagara would be most beneficial to the entire Region: safe, reliable transportation into the GTA and back; potential residential, commercial, and industrial development opportunities at considerably less expense; increased tourism; less congestion and air pollution on the QEW corridor. We are all winners.”
John Maloney, Mayor of Port Colborne
“The Township of Wainfleet is fully committed to bringing GO Transit to Niagara, reliable daily transportation to and from the GTA and Niagara is the single most important economic initiative for this term of Regional Council.”
April Jeffs, Mayor of Wainfleet
“Thorold is poised for substantial growth over the next 30 years. GO transit through to Niagara Falls will speed up that growth due to the connectivity of Niagara to the GTA. Residents will be able to work in the old GTA and they will be able to live and purchase affordable housing in the new GTA (Greater Thorold Area). GO will be a huge win for Niagara.”
Ted Luciani, Mayor of Thorold
“The expansion of GO Rail into Niagara is fundamental to our future growth and prosperity as a Region and as thriving communities. Economic development, population growth, environmental stewardship, employment, retention of our youth, attracting visitors – the opportunities are endless.”
Wayne Redekop, Mayor of Fort Erie
“The movement of goods, services and people is very important to Niagara’s economy through the associated growth in population and jobs that such important connections will bring. I am very proud as the Mayor of Lincoln to participate with my Regional colleagues in today’s declaration of our intent to bring GO commuter rail service to Niagara.”
Sandra Easton, Mayor of Lincoln
“GO Niagara Service would be a tremendous benefit to residents and businesses in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Millions of additional visitors along the transit hubs from Barrie, Eastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto & Hamilton corridor could experience what we already know – some of the best wineries, restaurants, hotels & spas and theatre in the country!”
Patrick Darte, Lord Mayor of Niagara on the Lake
“As an integral part of the Golden Horseshoe it is imperative that Niagara is connected and residents have the ability to access the entire corridor on a two way, daily basis. Go is the conduit that makes this happen…enabling residents to share and expand the economic, cultural and lifestyle opportunities throughout this dynamic zone.”
Frank Campion, Mayor of Welland