June 12, 2018
Ms. Lesley Griffiths
Chair of the Review Panel for the Milton Logistics Hub Project
c/o Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Place Bell Canada
Dear Ms. Griffiths:
I’m writing to support CN’s proposal to build and operate a new intermodal hub in Milton, Ontario.
The importance of the Great Lakes economic region cannot be overstated. Shared by eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, the region is home to 107 million people. Further, with economic output estimated at US$6 trillion in 2017, the region accounts for 30% of combined Canadian and U.S. economic activity and employment, or 51 million jobs.
As the region, particularly Ontario, positions itself to compete and win in today’s global climate of borderless trade, accessing developed and emerging markets around the world will be crucial for success and will depend heavily on a connected transportation system that is adaptive and resilient to change and uncertainty.
However, our research has shown that there is a lack of intermodal rail and inland port capacity around major transportation hubs in the Great Lakes, including in the Great Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). Without this critical infrastructure, Ontario will not live up to its growth potential. Moreover, more goods will travel by truck, increasing road congestion as well source greenhouse gas emissions from trucks.
We appreciate the diverse perspectives that exist regarding this trade enabling project, and recognize that there are significant challenges to making this type of investment, including lack of adequate appropriately zoned corridors and industrial land, encroachment on available corridors and industrial land, cumbersome regulatory review and permitting processes, and public resistance to transportation–related development.
Nevertheless, it is the Council’s view that a world-class intermodal facility can be built and operated in a manner that provides long-term economic, social and environmental benefits to the GTHA, Ontario and Canada. Maintaining the status quo can have the unintended consequence of curbing the GTHA’s, Ontario’s and Canada’s growth and competitiveness on a global stage.
For example, it is the Council’s opinion that CN’s new intermodal terminal in Milton, Ontario is not only necessary from an economic development perspective, it is vital for Ontario and Canada to take full advantage of global commerce through agreements like the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, as well as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership once it is ratified.
Thank you for considering the Council’s input on this important project.
Signed original sent by mail
Mark P. Fisher
President and CEO
c.c.: Dr. Isobel Heathcote
Mr. William McMurray