Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Kitchener today to reiterate Ontario’s commitment to improving Waterloo Region’s innovation economy through improved transit connectivity to Toronto.

Riding in on the GO train, Premier Wynne, along with Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca, Kitchener Centre MPP Daiene Vernile and Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, stopped at the Kitchener train station to announce the province has secured an agreement-in-principle with CN.

The agreement, through the province’s Metrolinx agency, will allow GO Regional Express Rail to be built along the Kitchener GO corridor.

According to Premier Wynne, the agreement will help startups in particular.

“Here in Waterloo Region transportation is critical. Startups always say they need to get to Toronto much more quickly and all day,” she said. “We will never realize their potential if the way in and out of Waterloo Region is congested.”

The announcement is another step towards two-way, all-day GO train service along the Toronto-Waterloo Region innovation corridor. The new express line is expected to be completed within eight years, by 2024.

The agreement-in-principle will map out next steps for a new freight corridor to shift CN’s freight traffic from the current route in Kitchener. In the short term, GO will add Kitchener, Guelph and Acton to the Georgetown and Union Station express trips twice daily, starting in September.

They’ll also offer a new express bus option, with all-day service between Brampton’s Bramalea GO station, which gives access to GO rail and bus services to Union Station during peak and off-peak hours. According to Minister Del Duca, the option is expected to shave 20-40 minutes off the commute as it stands today.

The Ontario Government has also committed up to $43 million to the creation of the downtown Kitchener multimodal transit hub. The hub will connect GO rail and bus services, VIA rail services, Grand River Transit buses and future ION light rail transit in Waterloo Region.