High-speed rail committee to visit

A provincial committee considering the feasibility of high-speed rail in Alberta will make a stop in Red Deer on Feb. 25.

A provincial committee considering the feasibility of high-speed rail in Alberta will make a stop in Red Deer on Feb. 25.

The Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future plans to collect input from the public about high-speed rail transit system during a 6:30 p.m. meeting at the Red Deer Lodge Hotel. Meetings are also scheduled for Calgary on Feb. 24 and Edmonton on Feb. 26.

The committee discussed the issue of high-speed rail in early December, and last week heard presentations from a number of experts and interested parties — including officials from the City of Red Deer. It’s scheduled to report to the legislative assembly by the end of May.

In 2006, the province commissioned a high-speed rail market demand study. The results, which were released in 2009, indicated that many Hwy 2 travellers would use high-speed rail if the option existed.

It estimated the cost of a line between Calgary and Edmonton at between $3 billion and $20 billion, depending on the technology and type of train.

Calgary-East MLA Moe Amery, who chairs the all-party Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future, told the Advocate in December that the initiative lost impetus when the economic downturn hit. But Amery feels it’s time to review the issue.

He also said the Calgary-Red Deer-Edmonton corridor seems a logical choice for high-speed rail, with Red Deer a natural stopping point.

Anyone wishing to present at the Red Deer meeting is asked to register by calling 780-427-1350 by Feb. 20. Written submissions will also be accepted until March 31, and can be sent to the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future c/o Committee Clerk, 801 Legislature Annex, 9718 107th St., Edmonton, T5K 1E4, or by email to economicfuture.committee@assembly.ab.ca.

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