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Rail plan returns
Mayor, Chamber of Commerce, elated province once again looking at
high-speed rail link

reprinted from Red Deer Advocate (Laura Tester) July 6, 2010
A new provincewide transportation study will hopefully further show the merits of having high-speed rail stopping in Red Deer, says the president of the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce.

Alberta Transportation will study the challenges and opportunities facing roads, rail lines and airports up until 2050 -- a decision that Don Mancuso supports.

The study is expected to be complete in 2011.

"We would love high-speed rail to stop in Red Deer," said Mancuso. "That's the key."

Luke Ouellette, minister of transportation and MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, said he's not sure what will come out of the strategic plan when it comes to high-speed rail development.

But it may show the need to develop this industry quicker than earlier forecasted timelines, Ouellette said.

He had earlier projected it would be at least 15 years before a bullet train could be operational between Calgary and Edmonton.

"I know Red Deer has huge support for high-speed rail," said Ouellette. "They think that the connectivity between the two major cities would be great."

Mancuso said he recognizes that the costs of building a high-speed rail line is staggering.

"What it comes down to is usage and so maybe those are things that will be addressed in this study," he said.

By 2050, there could be six million people or nearly 80 per cent of Alberta's population living in the Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer regions according to the province's recently released Alberta Population Projections report.

Last year, a high-speed rail study commissioned by the province looked at five station stops along the Hwy 2 corridor -- the airports in Calgary and Edmonton, downtown Calgary and Edmonton, and an unidentified stop at Red Deer.

Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling said the new study is "very, very good news."

"It makes it very difficult to plan if we don't know what the bigger context is," he added.

The city has envisioned what Red Deer could look like in the next 40 years with about 300,000 people. The city has looked at water supplies, transportation, and land use. With this new provincial plan, Flewwelling said they'll have knowledge as to where highway roads may be and now they could connect with city roads.

High-speed rail is also an important topic now because right-of-ways need to be protected beforehand, he added.

Mancuso said he supports the study's aim overall. He'll be interested to know what transportation could look like in 40 years.

"The plan is about fact finding and consulting with everybody on where you think our province should be going," said Ouellette.

His ministry has already issued a request for proposals.

A consultant would be hired, but the cost to do this study isn't yet known, Ouellette said.

He envisions the plan would be done sometime in 2011.

Ouellette said Premier Ed Stelmach wants to get this strategic plan underway because he's committed to 'having the most advanced infrastructure system in North America'.

News articles related to high speed rail
(Forth Junction supports the concept of a future rapid passenger rail service connecting major destinations as efficient and enviro-friendly but is not directly advocating for any specific high speed rail proposal):

       News article: Talk of high-speed rail line picking up steam?
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2013)
       News article: City touting high-speed rail stop at downtown station
(Red Deer Advocate Jan.2013)
       News article: Fast-tracking bullet train a ticket to nowhere
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2011)
       Commentary: Steam good alternative for high-speed rail link
(Red Deer Advocate Apr.2011)
       News article: Business officials laud rail proposals
(Red Deer Advocate Apr.2011)
       News article: Chamber pressing high-speed rail plan
(Red Deer Advocate Jan.2011)
       Editorial: Train's future needs path
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2010)
       News article: Project creates issues for rural residents
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2010)
       Editorial: High speed rail back on
(Red Deer Advocate July 2010)
       News article: Get moving on high-speed rail link: expert
(Red Deer Advocate June 2010)
       News article: Rural groups want high-speed rail study
(Red Deer Advocate March 2010)
       News article: Political will lags behind train debate
(Red Deer Advocate Oct.2009)
       News article: Province offers update on high speed rail (Red Deer Express July 2009)
       News article: Company pushes for high speed rail (Red Deer Express April 2008)
         News article: Rail group projects service in five years (Red Deer Advocate April 2008)

Rise and Fall of Passenger Rail in the C&E Corridor

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