LONDON – NDP Railway Caucus Chair Mike Sullivan (York South—Weston) and local London—Fanshawe NDP representatives, MP Irene Mathyssen and MPP Teresa Armstrong, held a roundtable to discuss the negative effects of nearly $300-million Conservative cuts to VIA Rail in the London region.

“It’s very clear: commuters, students and others who rely on VIA Rail to travel across Southern Ontario are going to feel the worst of the cuts to VIA Rail,” said Sullivan. “How can VIA Rail continue to provide effective service in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor when they just lost $288-million? It’s impossible.

“We’re looking at severely reduced service, stranded passengers and heavier gridlock caused by more cars on the road, as a result of these cuts.”

As part of the 2013 Conservative budget, VIA Rail will receive $54.7-million in operations funding. This comes after a $287.9-million cut to VIA Rail’s budget as part of the Main Estimates, tabled by the Conservatives earlier this year.

“It just goes to show that the Conservatives don’t understand the priorities of Londoners – cutting VIA Rail and cutting infrastructure funding is going to have disastrous consequences for our already struggling local economy,” said Mathyssen.

“Londoners are going to feel the brunt of these cuts as commuters are already stuck in traffic on the 401 to get to work. Students at Fanshawe College and Western University already facing skyrocketing tuition costs are going to have less opportunity to visit home, and that could have a serious impact on choice of schools. That’s not good for our community,” said Armstrong.

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