GOVERNMENT CREATED UNNECESSARY CRISIS WITH ACR: HUGHES

Elliot Lake – With news that the government will provide funding to maintain passenger service on the Algoma Central Railway for another year, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes is chastising the government for creating a crisis in the first place.

“The government knew that CN would not continue service without the subsidy,” said Hughes.  “Instead of performing due diligence and consulting with stakeholders, the government created a crisis that they also allowed to reach the 11th hour.”

Hughes predicts that given enough time, stakeholders will find a long term solution that will create a climate of stability for businesses, communities, and property owners that benefit from the service.

“We saw this work out for the Huron Central and I expect as much for the ACR too,” said Hughes. “There is a lot of support for passenger rail in the region and recognition of its importance for the economy as well.  I think with enough time to seek alternatives, the stakeholders will find a workable solution.”

Hughes maintains her criticism of the process that categorized all communities along the ACR as rural with public road access, citing the example of OBA.  That community will have to rely on a private industrial road entirely without passenger service.

“At the end of the day, the government was wrong to remove the subsidy, but they won’t admit as much and the time has come to look forward and focus on solutions,” said Hughes. “I am pleased that I was able to get the Minister’s ear and appreciate her securing one year of bridge funding which will prove helpful to stakeholders as they work toward a long term plan.”