Investors interested in high-speed rail

Although a high-speed train between Calgary and Edmonton is at least 15 years away from carrying its first passengers, there is private interest in the project, Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette said Wednesday.

Although a high-speed train between Calgary and Edmonton is at least 15 years away from carrying its first passengers, there is private interest in the project, Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette said Wednesday.

A newly-released report on the potential demand for high-speed rail said people would be willing to pay $56 to $120 one way, depending on the speed of the train. No suggestion was made as to whether the government should fund the project, which has an estimated construction bill of $3 billion to $20 billion.

Ouellette, MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, anticipates the provincial government would primarily pay for purchasing the land where the 300-km long rail line would run.

He said there must be interest from industry before the project could get off the ground — and there is. “There’s a lot of investment interest,” he said. “I’ve had some companies that are very interested in looking at it.”

Ouellette presented the report to a joint provincial-federal Conservative caucus on Monday. He said he is now seeking support for a government-funded corridor study to be done on where the alignment should go and how much land is required.

It will go forward soon to an agenda and priorities committee. Even if it does receive caucus approval, the study would still have to receive approval from the Treasury Board.

Even with government approvals, Ouellette is predicting a long road ahead before people would be climbing aboard. He’s expecting controversy on where the line would be constructed.

“Everyone says they want something built, but as long as it’s not in their backyard,” he said.

Ouellette figures it will take about two years to figure out the alignment and then another two to four years to acquire the land. And then another 10 years to build.

“Even if you start now, you are close to 15 years before any riders,” Ouellette said.

The market assessment report suggested that the faster the train, the higher ridership.

“It would have to go 300 to 350 km/h to get enough ridership,” said Ouellette.

If it travels at these high speeds, Ouellette said there can be no at-level crossings, which means it must go below or above the ground. There’s a huge cost with that, he added.

Four types of trains were evaluated in the consultants’ report, from the slower 200-km/h diesel electric train, which would take two hours to travel from Calgary to Edmonton, to the 480-km/h magnetic levitation train, which would deliver passengers to their destination in an hour.

Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas said he’s always favoured a review of high-speed rail and its possible benefits for Red Deer.

“At some point, it will be a viable option but not today,” he said.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson hosts 7th annual Toy Run

Bikers jumped on their motorcycles this weekend to help make Christmas better… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP locate drugs during traffic stop

A Rocky Mountain House man is facing charges after Innisfail RCMP located… Continue reading

Expert says acquittal of Alberta parents in boy’s death unlikely to set precedent

CALGARY — A law professor says the acquittal of an Alberta couple… Continue reading

Take Back the Night rally marches through downtown Red Deer

Dozens marched through the city’s downtown chanting, “Red Deer unite, take back… Continue reading

Houston area sees relief, rescues after Imelda leaves 4 dead

HOUSTON — Emergency workers used boats Friday to rescue about 60 residents… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Missing hiker found safe after spending night on North Vancouver mountain

VANCOUVER — Rescue crews have found a missing female hiker safe after… Continue reading

Trudeau was only one in dark makeup at 2001 party but nobody took offence: attendee

VANCOUVER — A man who attended an “Arabian Nights” gala held by… Continue reading

McKenna defends Canada’s climate credibility amid Trudeau controversy

OTTAWA — Liberal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna says Canada still has credibility… Continue reading

Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette trying to “be smart” with head injury

NEW YORK — Blue Jays rookie shortstop Bo Bichette says he’s feeling… Continue reading

Climate activists step up protests in Britain and France

PARIS — Environmental activists in Britain and France stepped up campaigns Saturday… Continue reading

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — A hiker has been found dead in Banff… Continue reading

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May are continuing on the campaign… Continue reading

Most Read