The Globe and Mail online has a interview with ROB PRICHARD online here
Two local relevant section outtakes from the article
On meeting the Tier 4 emissions standards on its Georgetown corridor trains
GO Transit has … an enviable record of adopting the best available diesel technology and the cleanest available diesel fuel in every stage in its evolution as an organization. We are known to the manufacturers as eager to see technological advances and open to embracing the best technology as it becomes available. So there’s no change for GO. We think it is a price worth paying, whatever the price is. It is not our expectation that it will dramatically increase the price of the locomotives. The locomotives we are acquiring now, while Tier 2 certified, are in fact compliant with the Tier 3 standards already and we just are very much in favour of these further technological improvements to reduce the pollutants from the emissions from the vehicles and we’re happy to pay the market price of that technology as it becomes available over the next few years. We do not believe it will double it, but we are happy to pay the increased costs to have a cleaner environment and less emissions.
On the electrification of the line
Our current estimate of the cost of electrifying the Georgetown line only is $1.5-billion. We estimate the cost of electrifying the GO system, including Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West and the other lines, to be somewhere between $7 and $10-billion. So those are our current estimates. We have announced a thorough study of the benefits, all the benefits, and costs of electrification of the GO system and its individual lines. We began that study in June with a community advisory council of scientists, environmentalists, community representative, engineers and others to advise us on how to properly scope a thorough study. That work is coming to a conclusion over the next two weeks. We expect to get the approval of our board of directors to then proceed with the full study pursuant to that scope of work and complete it by December of next year. as a result of that, we’ll have a very clear case made of the health benefit, the environmental benefit, the transit benefits, the community benefits of electrification, and we’ll have a clear view of the financial costs of electrification and of the engineering costs. That is, to electrify the corridor will require transmission lines. Do we bring the power to the corridor through some communities? Then we need to be frank and open about that. It requires putting wires above all the tracks which are going through communities, and we need to be frank about that. So we need all the costs and all the benefits on the table so that an informed decision can be made. We’ll make all that work public and then, following public debate, the province can make a decision as to whether or not to make that investment, and if so, at what pace. Because you can’t electrify the entire system at once, because we would have to do it in some sequence, and we want to make sure we do the most urgent lines first and then do it in the right sequence as well. So we think given the magnitude of the public investment required to electrify, we think it’s prudent to spend a year doing a very thorough study of the issues before making a commitment to it. In the meantime, we’re confident that using the Tier 4 diesel technology, we can expand services on the Georgetown line and do so in a way that’s consistent with improving air quality.