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Entire GO system should be electric: Chief Medical Officer of Health

TORONTO, Ont. – GO Transit’s plan to electrify two of its rail lines is not enough for Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Dr. David McKeown would like to see the entire system switched over from diesel, saying that it would not only save $20 million per year in health costs but save time as well.

“Diesel itself – it is not a clean fuel and creates air pollution,” said Dr. Monica Campbell with Toronto Public Health. “Because of that, it increases health risks.”

“You would see effects such as increased hospitalization, both for respiratory problems and also for cardiac problems,” she told 680News.

Currently, Metrolinx – the parent company of GO – has begun the process of electrifying the Lakeshore and Georgetown lines. Revamping the entire system would cost GO Transit approximately $4 billion and would be a decades-long project.

“We felt that the health and environmental benefits were not significant enough to offset the very significant capital costs,” Metrolinx CEO Bruce McQuaig told 680News.

However, “what may happen in the future, I can’t say at this point. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

McQuaig reaffirmed that better trains equal less pollution.

Electric trains are becoming the norm in cities such as Paris, Montreal and Vancouver, and once implemented in the GTA, could save riders anywhere from three to seven minutes per trip.

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