December 26, 2017 2:55 pm
Updated: December 26, 2017 2:57 pm

Iveson to make setting aside land for train to airport a priority in 2018

Edmonton International Airport's eight-storey Central Tower.

Edmonton International Airport, Credit
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It’s far off in the future, however getting dibs on a train route to the Edmonton International Airport will see its first step in the new year, according to the city’s mayor.

Mayor Don Iveson said in his annual year-end interview with 630 CHED that he plans to set the ball rolling for a commuter rail line by tabling a high-level route in both the city’s municipal development plan and the transportation master plan.

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Iveson said a third line is needed in addition to the Capital Line that will eventually move south to Heritage Valley, and the Valley Line that is set to open in Mill Woods in 2020.

“It’s still in this high-level phase,” he said. “As CP [Rail] abandons the rail yard and the rail right-of-way from Strathcona towards the south and begins to look towards redevelopment to that site, we will put up our hands in due course and say, ‘Protect that right-of-way, it may have a future civic purpose.'”

An airport accord group which includes the City of Leduc, Leduc County and the airport authority has been tasked with looking at economic and commercial development, along with long-term transportation solutions for the region.

By April, Iveson hopes to create a cost-sharing arrangement to bring back the 747 bus.

READ MORE: EIA funding for 747 bus route to Edmonton airport expires

“We’re going to need to augment that with better bus service. Long term, we’re probably going to need some sort of rapid transit extension to the south that operates more like a commuter rail system that ultimately connects to the airport.

“We’re at the very conceptual stage right now, but it’s something this council should begin to plan for.”

A train along the CP right-of-way will be decades away and Iveson said he sees no need to divert money away from other LRT projects to make it happen.

“Conversations are continuing. We’ve had a few more talks with the airport about the importance of that kind of connection,” Iveson said.

The city and Leduc County finalized an annexation agreement in June that sees Edmonton expand south to the airport’s edge on both sides of the QEII highway. That doesn’t include land at the airport.

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