Business leaders endorse rail link for commuters
The prospect of high-speed rail linking Edmonton and Calgary is gathering more steam today after key business leaders offered their endorsement.
Heather Douglas, president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber now supports the bullet train proposal when it makes economic sense, supported by sustainable ridership.
"It does make sense to save money on building more roads and interchanges and put the money into a smaller footprint, which would be a bullet train," she said.
Her position is a reversal from last year when the chamber stated that such a project was not a priority or in best interests of its members.
But with the cost of flights ever-increasing and Alberta’s population continuing to boom, business leaders will now endorse a high-speed rail link as a viable option for future commuters, she says, citing the project as part of a solution to labour shortages and mobility issues.
As Metro exclusively revealed last year, preliminary results from the province’s feasibility report on high-speed rail determined that Alberta is a viable market. The final report has yet to be publicly released.
Instead, the province’s 20-year capital plan, unveiled in January, mentions the development of high-speed rail in broad and unspecified terms.
Premier Ed Stelmach has called the prospect of an Alberta bullet train "visionary," but was tight-lipped when asked when such a mega-project could be launched.
Mayor Stephen Mandel, however, is adamantly against building a bullet train, citing other priorities for Edmonton.
"I think if you read the comments by some other people and what their intent of this train is, you’ll see why my concerns exist," he said yesterday.