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Monday, July 06, 2009

New report brings Edmonton-Calgary corridor high speed rail closer

The Alberta government has released a report today on a market assessment study of a potential high-speed rail service in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor.

The study, commissioned at the request of the province, looked at the ridership, revenues and demand for high-speed rail service. It also compared the costs and advantages of four different high-speed train technologies.

While the report makes no recommendations regarding the feasibility of high-speed rail or future government involvement in such a project, its conclusions support the project:

The development of the Alberta High Speed Rail (Alberta HSR) system will provide an integrating force for the communities of the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. It will provide opportunities to fundamentally change the character of business in the corridor while expanding the level of social, personal and tourist interaction in the corridor. In the corridor the project will create a new business environment that will encourage and attract the New Economy businesses. These include high-tech, high value-added industry frequently tied to computer, telecommunications and professional services businesses). It will support existing manufacturing and service industry, while fostering the growth of new small businesses across the corridor because of the improved access to smaller communities in the corridor.

Luke Ouellette, Minister of Transportation, said that despite the report the government has not yet decided on whether or not to peruse the massive infrastructure project:

“In keeping with our government’s priority of building the infrastructure Alberta needs for the future, we will continue to investigate various transportation solutions,” said Luke Ouellette, Minister of Transportation. “We have not made a decision on a high-speed rail project, however, this report is a good first step. We will continue to look at all options in order to support Albertans and the province’s economic future.”

For background on this story, read “Mega-bucks Express” by Western Standard reporter Patrick McGee. McGee reports that this rail service could cost nearly $2 billion. And with the Alberta government now running deficits, and the oil industry in crisis due to the devastating New Royalty Framework, this mega project could break the provincial treasury.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on July 6, 2009 | Permalink


If you feel strongly about this issue, this article is a must read:

Posted by: Henry | 2009-07-06 3:42:35 PM

So sad

Some of you silly albertans should google norway and see what a real heritage fund is...LOL
And with get this ....less oil!!!
(second richest country in the world !!)

How you have been played !
How you have been abused !
How you have been robbed !

Bizarre !

Just so sad!

Oh well keep voting for those fools

remember no representation without taxation

pat yourselves on the back for no provincial tax while I realize who they then work for......as usual.....taxpayers...the oil companies

Hey smart guys?
What does the province get per barrel???...LOL

Now tell me what they used to get in the 80's before your beloved party screwed you?

Posted by: shavluk | 2009-07-06 4:55:42 PM

Futurism, the last refuge of a social democrat.

"Ed Stelmach and Alberta's New Democrats in blue. Our future (of government running everything)."

Posted by: Robert Seymour | 2009-07-06 6:11:00 PM

They don't need a high speed rail line, any more than I need a new Corvette. It's a status symbol, and this is no time to be showing off.

Posted by: dp | 2009-07-06 7:24:19 PM

I say build it just to show the Ontarians how superior free Alberta is.

Seriously, it is a waste. Much better to extend I-15 all the way from the US border through Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, all the way to Alaska and the NWT, and similar high-speed, limited access highways from east to west. Connecting to the US is MUCH more important connecting to Canada.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-07-06 8:26:08 PM

The most sensible route from the US to the oilsands doesn't go through Edmonton, or Calgary.

The Grande Prairie, and Alaska route has been on the drawing board since the 40's. Most of it was surveyed in the 50's. The economies of those destinations have been so unstable over the years, there's never been support to finish the project.

I wonder what will happen if the demand for uranium comes back? Maybe long term planning should focus on something that's truly long term.

Posted by: dp | 2009-07-06 8:42:47 PM

Right on, dp @ 2009-07-06 7:24:19 PM.

Special Ed's Red Tories are telling us we need to build his legacy Choo-choo and at the same time they're going to tax us to high heaven, probably including a provincial sales tax.

I rarely read Rick "the Dingle" Bell, the guy is a flaming socialist, but it looks like "the Dingle" has this issue covered.

Ted Morton, who was marginalized by Special Ed but is characterized in Bell's article as "part of Stelmach's "inner circle", says the Alberta Progressives will have to cut and tax to deal with shortfalls.
I think the $2B price tag is probably dishonest.
In 2007, when Alberta was flush with energy revenue and Red Ed had just been selected Premier, they were throwing around the number $6B, and that would be low-balling it with today's inflation.

Posted by: Speller | 2009-07-07 5:30:47 AM

Odd how the two reports' front covers say "Febuary 2008"...

More to the point, we now know likely ridership and economic benefits. We just need to know precise costs to see if its worth building. My bet: the 200km/hr (exsistign line, Talgo-style trains) or 300km/hr (TGV trains on dedicated lines) versions will be worth doing, the 240km/hr (jet train on new line) and 500km/hr (MagLev) versions will not.

Posted by: Tom West | 2009-07-14 11:52:00 AM

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