Backers of Calgary-Banff train say they need Parks Canada to get on board

The backers of a proposed $1.5-billion Calgary to Banff passenger train say they need Parks Canada to enact policies that encourage public transit.

Liricon Capital Inc., which owns the Mount Norquay ski resort as well as the long-term lease for the Banff train station, is still waiting for a yes or no from the Alberta government for its proposed passenger rail line.

Liricon isn’t asking for provincial funding for capital costs, but has asked the government to kick in a maximum of $30 million annually for the life of the train to help cover the project’s mortgage.

But Liricon says a new economic analysis shows those annual government payments may not even be necessary. Liricon says a new ridership forecast shows the train could carry 11 million passengers per year by 2035, five times more than originally projected.

Liricon says the higher ticket revenue could reduce government’s annual contribution to zero.

But it says to achieve that, Parks Canada would have to adopt policies that promote mass transit within Banff National Park, such as increasing park entry fees for private vehicles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2022.

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