The addition of a second Amtrak service from Oregon to Vancouver would generate an extra $13 million in tourism spending each year, more than offsetting the costs of the service, representatives from the tourism and transportation industry say.
The Canada Border Services Agency and federal government has approved a plan to run a second Amtrak train during the 2010 Games.
But local tourism and transit organizations, including Tourism B.C. and TransLink, have sent a letter to the Public Safety Minister and CBSA asking that the service be expanded to June 2010 from June 2009.
Katie Emery, a spokesperson with Tourism Vancouver — whose CEO and chair both signed the letter — said the CBSA has been reluctant to approve a second train because it would cost $500,000 a year to employ extra border service staff.
“The economic impact of bringing in that second train far outweighs (those) daily costs,” Emery said.
“A second train that accommodates another time of day makes it easier for visitors to come back and forth.”
Emery added that an extra train would also cut greenhouse gas emissions by giving travellers an alternative to driving.