Most Canadians aren’t really aware how President Barack Obama’s $789 billion (at last count) stimulus package might directly benefit this country, but there is at least one area of United States infrastructure improvement that, if approved, could have an enormous impact on the city of Toronto.
That’s the plan backed by several congressional representatives from upstate New York along with Hillary Clinton’s senatorial replacement, Kirsten Gillibrand, to direct stimulus money toward a high-speed rail corridor extending from New York City through Albany and Buffalo and terminating in Toronto. High-speed rail, in addition to its efficient use of energy and relatively low environmental impact, could cut travel time from Toronto to New York to less than an hour, a potential boon for inter-city travel and a catalyst for all sorts of cross-collaborative cultural mash-ups.
But don’t get too excited by thoughts of racing through Schenectady at 400 kilometres per hour on your way to a weekend show at the MOMA; so far plans are only in the “extremely vague” phase, with the stimulus bill still awaiting the president’s signature. Still, the timing seems right; it was only this past December that U of T engineers made recommendations to Dalton McGuinty for a high-speed rail corridor connecting the Golden Horseshoe, advice included in Roger Martin and Richard Florida’s economic blueprint for the Government of Ontario. Perhaps if local politicians pushed Steven Harper to discuss the idea further with President Obama when he visits Ottawa this February 19, the idea could gain traction. But then again, considering the fate of similar plans for cutting-edge technology in this province, high-speed rail may still be a long way off.
Thanks to Jonathan Taylor for the tip.