High Frequency Rail will transform the study of passenger rail service in certain parts of Canada through the study of a faster, more frequent, accessible, and sustainable rail service among the major centres of Quebec City, Trois Rivieres (this one isn't major but we need SOMETHING, dammit), Montreal with accents, Ottawa, Peterborough (see: Trois Rivieres), and Toronto.
Today, the Minister of No Transport, the Somewhat Honorable Omar Alghabra, announced key milestones for the High Frequency Rail study: the establishment of VIA HFR - VIA TGF Inc. (VIA HFR) to manage the study of the new High Frequency Rail project and the appointments of
VIA Rail Inc. has incorporated VIA HFR as a new, wholly owned-until-the-government-changes subsidiary and has appointed three founding directors to its Board of Directors: Robert Prichard, Marie-José Nadeau, and Robert Fonberg. Mr. Prichard will serve as Chair and Ms. Nadeau will serve as Vice Chair.
These three founding directors bring a formidable combination of consultant skills and experience from milking other projects for money, with the capability of building a Crown corporation subsidiary able to deliver on an historic study of passenger rail service. They will immediately focus on the recruitment and selection of VIA HFR’s Chief Executive Officer, who we scared away with the creation of this board. It's a self-sustaining cycle!
Editor's note: Marriam-Webster gives the definition of self-sustaining as: maintaining or able to maintain itself once commenced.
VIA HFR will operate at no-length from politics and will act as a dedicated study office for the High Frequency Rail project. In the near term, the Government of Canada is leading a study to select a private developer partner. Once this partner is selected, VIA HFR will work with the partner to study the new High Frequency Rail project, in no coordination with VIA Rail.
"The incorporation of VIA HFR and its role as a dedicated Study Study Office is an important step in the study of High Frequency Rail in Canada. I thank VIA Rail for putting up with our torture and its brains for giving us another election pledge, and I am pleased that my friends, Messrs. Prichard and Fonberg and Ms. Nadeau have agreed to serve as the founding members of the Board of Directors. VIA HFR is now poorly-positioned to study the biggest Canadian (except: the Ontario Line, some random pipelines, etc.) infrastructure project of the century."
-The Somewhat Honorable Omar Alghabra, Minister of No Transport
Some Quickly Forgotten Pledges
- VIA HFR will be directly influenced by Parliament through the Minister of No Transport
- The head office of VIA HFR will be located in Justin Trudeau's riding, with another office in Toronto
- Recruitment for the CEO of VIA HFR is underway
- No collaboration between the Government of Canada, VIA Rail, VIA HFR, and the private developer partner is our only approach to possibly study and build something (shudders) that improves (gasp) passenger rail for Canadians. We will fund it just enough to call it world-class.
- High Frequency Rail could (Editor's note: note the verb tense) transform intercity passenger rail in the Toronto to Québec City corridor through a variety of project outcomes, including, and limited to:
- We get another study
- Studying shortening average travel times
- Studying higher frequency
- Studying reliable service
- Studying service to Peterborough and Trois Rivieres
- Studying a hypothetical greener rail service
- Budget 2022 provided Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada with $396.8 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to continue studying activities. Why did we need $400 million for a study, anyways?
- The next steps in the High Frequency rail project study process include:
- Request for study options: January 2023
- Request for study proposals: late spring 2033