Transport Minister Denis Lebel says the federal government has not had a clear vision for rail expansion in the future, but he says the country is “in a really bad place.”
“I don’t think we have an integrated vision for future rail,” Lebel said in an interview with The Globe and Mail, responding to a question about the federal Conservative government’s rail strategy.
“That’s why I’ve been asking our ministers, and the Minister of Infrastructure, for months, to come up with a new vision for the rail system.”
Lebel’s comments follow a review of rail policy by Infrastructure Canada, which concluded the federal Conservatives had not laid out a clear plan for rail.
Lebel told The Globe the Liberals’ plan was “completely inadequate.”
He said the federal Liberals plan “could have been a better way to get us on track” to meet its goal of building new passenger rail service in Canada by 2024.
“We know there’s going to be some uncertainty about where this is going to go,” Lebronsaid.
“But the government has done an incredible job of taking our focus on rail to a place where we can actually move forward on a strategy that’s good for Canadians.”
Lebrants rail plan would have involved adding an additional 50 kilometres of new track, a move that the Conservatives say is essential to keep up with the growing demand for more passenger trains.
“The question is how do we get the trains going, how do you make sure we can get the capacity to move quickly,” LeBronsaid, who is a former deputy minister for rail, told The Associated Press in an email.
The federal Liberals say they are working to make the rail network more sustainable. “
It is absolutely critical to the Canadian economy that we continue to invest in our rail network and to make sure our people are getting a reliable, reliable rail system to get to work and to the point where it’s safe for our communities.”
The federal Liberals say they are working to make the rail network more sustainable.
Lebrontas plan includes building an additional 60 kilometres of track, but it’s unclear how many additional kilometres will be needed, and there is no timeline for the completion of the project.
“This new track will be a significant improvement on the current Grand Canyon Railway line,” Leblancsaid.
Leblanns plan would also include building a new passenger train depot at the former Canadian Pacific Railway Station in Calgary, but that project is still in the planning stages.
“There is a great deal of work to be done on the Calgary Corridor, which will provide a new service corridor connecting Calgary with the cities of Calgary and Edmonton,” LeBlancsays plan would add.
“As we look ahead to the construction of the new Calgary Corridor passenger rail line, I would like to see it be fully operational by 2020, which is the projected completion date.”
The Harper government also said in February it would build an additional 200 kilometres of rail infrastructure, including a new $6.4-billion rail tunnel between Calgary and Thunder Bay, which would take four years to complete.
LeBlanches plan also included funding to build a new terminal at the railway station in Calgary.
“Canada has always had a railway infrastructure infrastructure system, but we have a railway that is more modern, more modern than the United States, and we have one that’s much better than any other country in the world,” LeBrontas plan said.
“With a railway system that is as advanced as it is, it is imperative that we work together with our neighbours to make this a reality.”
The Globe asked LeBlanchas office for more information about the Liberal plan, but did not receive a response.
The Conservatives have repeatedly touted the Grand Prix project as a model of rapid expansion in Canada, and have also pointed to the project’s track record.
“Grand Prix is the single largest expansion in Canadian railway history,” LeBel said in a statement.
By focusing on the benefits of rail, we will ensure that we can deliver on this ambitious goal.”