This morning in Peterborough, the Shining Waters Railway group revealed the results of an economic impact study commissioned to explore the local economic feasibility of restoring Peterborough-Toronto commuter rail service and upgrading the existing track. The line would run 120 kilometres with a total of eight stations between the Peterpatch and Toronto's Union Station.
Among the projected conservative estimates, according to the report:
• Nearly 2000 jobs to be created and $531 million in economic output ($433 million in Ontario) due to capital investment in upgrading track, constructing bridges, and refurbishing rolling stock. Most of the difference would occur in New Brunswick where rail cars will be refurbished.
• An additional 110 jobs and $13 million per year in economic output due to operation of the commuter rail line.
• More than $12 million in tax collections for the province and $4 million for the federal government.
• Nearly $13 million a year in travel time savings and travel cost savings, $0.6 million a year in environmental savings from new and diverted riders of the service and $11 million in 2031 in accident related costs.
• If full Phase 1 & 2 operation begins by mid 2015, the economic impact between now and 2020 is approximately $700 million – combination of construction and operation related impacts and ongoing travel savings.
According to the report, these estimates "do not consider the likely impact of increased rail freight service, non-commuter related travel (tourism, for example), development around the stations, and possible attraction of new business to the region. These estimates do not consider economic activity from alternative ways in which public funds might have been used."