h2>Media Advisory March 22, 2010

CLEAN TRAIN COALITION URGES RESIDENTS TO GET INFORMED AT MONDAY’S CITY-SPONSORED FORUM ON WEST-END RAIL EXPANSION

Toronto, Mar 22 – The Clean Train Coalition is inviting residents to attend this evening's public forum, “All Aboard? Diesel, electric and clean air: which way forward”, from 6:30–9:00 p.m., in the Council Chambers at Toronto City Hall.

Hosted by City Councillors John Filion, Chair of the Toronto Board of Health, and Paula Fletcher, Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee, the event’s flyer explains: “The Board of Health supports expanded public transit as a way to reduce vehicle traffic, but remains concerned about health risks and air quality impacts predicted with the proposed diesel rail expansion.”

The Clean Train Coalition shares these concerns, and continues to press for electrification of the Union-Pearson rail link from start of service, in time for Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games.

As Mike Sullivan, co-chair of the coalition, points out, “Last week’s warm weather reminds us of Environment Canada’s warnings that we’re going to see more and more hot summer days, and this means more smog days in our region. So why are we planning to add to the toxic air we breathe by running heavy, energy-hogging diesel locomotives, instead of lighter, more energy-efficient electric trains that won’t cause any local health effects and will substantially reduce the region’s overall pollution load? Electric trains are quite simply the only sensible way to go.”

Adds Carina Cojeen, the Coalition’s other co-chair: “In addition to the obvious health benefits, there are a host of other problems that would be caused by diesel expansion on this corridor, all of which would be fixed by going with electric trains from the beginning. For example, look at how impressed visitors to the Vancouver Olympics were with that city’s state-of-the-art electrified airport rail link. But at the rate Ontario is going, visitors to Toronto for the Pan Am Games will see nothing but 18-foot high walls all the way through downtown Toronto – a wasteful and ugly addition to the city that would not be required if we simply made it an electrified rail service. Our provincial government should be setting an example for all the world to see, not building an embarrassingly dated white elephant.”

WHAT: Toronto-sponsored Public Forum

WHEN: Monday, March 22, 2010, 6:30-9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Council Chambers, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West

DETAILS:
Panel discussion moderated by Eva Ligeti, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnership
Panellists:
Dr. David McKeown, Toronto Medical Officer of Health;
Gary McNeil, Executive VP, Metrolinx;
Prof. Christopher Kennedy, University of Toronto;

CONTACTS:
Mike Sullivan, Co-Chair, Clean Train Coalition, 416-571-8723
Carina Cojeen, Co-Chair, Clean Train Coalition, 416-886-2320

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City site on the forum: www.toronto.ca/health/moh/forum.htm

The Clean Train Coalition represents the communities along the rail corridor. We believe that a healthy environment and vibrant neighbourhoods depend on smart investment in public transit infrastructure. Build it once, build it right! www.cleantrain.ca