WINDSOR, ONT. -- The provincial government is revealing details of a new transportation task force, which will have representation from Windsor and Leamington mayors.

Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney announced the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Task Force on Tuesday.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald are the only Windsor-Essex mayors on the nine-member team.

"I'm pleased to get started on the exciting work to better connect the economically diverse communities in southwestern Ontario," said Dilkens. "As our region has grown over the past few years, our transit and transportation networks have just not kept up. Premier Ford and Minister Mulroney have demonstrated that they are aware of the infrastructure needs of our region, but through this Task Force, the government is allowing regional leaders to have a major role in shaping the road ahead."

The task force is expected to focus on improving connections between transportation modes such as rail, bus, and local transit services across the region and will ensure that transportation planning is informed by local needs and considerations.

"We're working to address transportation needs in regions across Ontario and feedback from leaders who live and work in the local community will be essential," said Mulroney. "The Southwest Task Force will ensure transportation plans for the southwest reflect the diverse voices within the community and help determine the most important transportation needs in the region."

The draft plan identified several key actions for southwestern Ontario, including:

  • Undertaking an airport activity and infrastructure survey;
  • Supporting the trucking industry;
  • Widening Highway 3 to Leamington;
  • Making Highway 401 safer between London and Tilbury;
  • Enhancing inter-community rail service;
  • Improving local public transit; and
  • Connecting people to public services.

Establishing a task force was one of more than 40 recommendations set out in Connecting the Southwest: A Draft Transportation Plan for Southwestern Ontario. The task force includes representation from southwestern mayors and Indigenous communities and will meet regularly over the next 12 months.

Through consultation and discussion, the task force will look at ways to improve transportation in the region and present recommendations to the Ontario government.

The Southwest Task Force members are:

  • Mayor Ed Holder (Chair): Mayor of London
  • Mayor Drew Dilkens (Vice Chair): Mayor of Windsor
  • Mayor Joe Preston: Mayor of St. Thomas
  • Mayor Hilda MacDonald: Mayor of Leamington
  • Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden: Mayor of Strathroy-Caradoc
  • Chief Jason Henry: Chief of Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation
  • Councillor Sidney Nadjiwon: Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation
  • Marta Leardi-Anderson: Chair, Owen Sound Transportation Company Limited
  • Tania Lee: Vice President, Blue Water Bridge Duty Free Shop

Additional members will be confirmed at a later date.

The southwestern plan defines the region as extending from Essex County in the west and south, Norfolk County in the east and Bruce and Grey Counties in the north.