The Clean Train Coalition has applied to the Ontario Divisional Court asking for a judicial review of Metrolinx’ decision to operate diesel trains along the Air Rail Link between Union Station and Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The group wants the court to quash the plan for diesel trains. It argues that, by accepting the government of Ontario’s instruction to build the line in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games, the regional transit agency unlawfully failed to consider electrifying the line from the start.
“We have been left with no choice but to seek a legal remedy to stop this dirty diesel plan,” said Rick Ciccarelli, the chair of the coalition. “We tried to persuade the government and Metrolinx to do the right thing and build an electric air rail link from the start. But there has been no accountability and now we are going to court to protect the health of 300,000 residents who live in the corridor.”
The coalition’s counsel Saba Ahmad described the application as a test of whether government agencies must obey their own legislation. “We argue that Metrolinx acted contrary to statutory requirement that long-term goals guide its decision-making. It decided to run diesel trains based on an agenda set by the schedule for the Pan Am Games and thereby violated its obligations.”
In applying for a judicial review, the group seeks to have the court require Metrolinx to do three things:
- Fully compare and analyze the diesel and electric options for the line to determine the technical and economic feasibility and the environmental and health effects of each;
- Reconsider the decision to proceed with diesel trains, without worrying about whether the line would be operating in time for the 2015 games; and
- Reconsider the decision on diesel trains in light of the fact that the World Health Organization recently reclassified diesel exhaust as a carcinogen and cause of lung cancer.
The Clean Train Coalition is a community-based public interest group advocating for smart investment in public transit infrastructure. It represents affected communities along the Air Rail Link corridor, including Weston, Mount Dennis, the Junction, Parkdale, High Park and others.