Proposed Calgary-to-Banff rail link looking for provincial funds

Click to play video: 'Alberta government closely monitoring Calgary-to-Banff rail proposal but not ready to finance yet: Kenney'
Alberta government closely monitoring Calgary-to-Banff rail proposal but not ready to finance yet: Kenney
WATCH ABOVE: Premier Jason Kenney says his government is closely studying a proposed Calgary-to-Banff passenger rail line project, but is not ready to commit to any financing yet. – Dec 8, 2021

The company behind a proposed passenger rail service that would connect Banff, Alta., to the Calgary International Airport says the project will cost $1.5 billion.

The owners of the Mount Norquay ski resort in Banff say they’ve submitted a new proposal to the Alberta government in hopes the rail line could be constructed as a public-private partnership.

Liricon Capital Ltd., which owns the ski resort, also holds a long-term lease for the Banff train station.

The company says the link between the tourist town and Calgary would help reduce the burden of passenger vehicles in Banff National Park.

Click to play video: 'Downtown stop ‘essential’ in plans for train connecting Calgary and Banff'
Downtown stop ‘essential’ in plans for train connecting Calgary and Banff

The proposal would require twinning a section of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. track.

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Liricon Capital is asking the Alberta government to commit $30 million annually to the project. The province would not start payments until the rail line is complete, which could be as early as 2025.

Premier Jason Kenney said the province is taking a very close look at the proposal, touting some of its potential benefits.

“We think it has a lot of potential merit to improve the tourism experience for the jewel in Canada’s tourism crown, which is Banff,” he said.

“It would also help Calgarians and people in the Bow Valley corridor, including people from the Stoney Nakota First Nation, more easily to get up to the mountain park to work there. That could help address some of the labour challenges, also help people get access to jobs. It would also help to reduce emissions by taking a lot of automobile and bus traffic off the roads.

“It could also help just improve the quality of the experience up in Banff with fewer cars on the road… and just constructing the project itself, of course, would create some jobs. There’s one version of the project that would connect to the Calgary airport, so there could be some very exciting opportunities like they have in some of the European ski villages where you land in an airport, you take a train and you go straight to the destination.”

However, Kenney said the province is not yet ready to fund the project.

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“We are not at any point ready to commit to money on this. We have to give this very close rigor. And that’s the stage that we’re at right now.”

The company also hopes to receive funding from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Click to play video: 'Calgary to Banff train proposed by 3 city councillors'
Calgary to Banff train proposed by 3 city councillors

With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News.

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