High speed rail committee hears from Edmontonians
A committee looking into the feasibility of a high speed rail link between Edmonton and Calgary heard mixed reaction to the proposal at a public meeting in Edmonton Wednesday night.
The $6 billion line would allow users to travel between Alberta’s two largest cities in 90 minutes, with a stop in Red Deer along the way.
All but two of the people who addressed the committee said the line would be worth the cost.
"Environmentally it's a sound proposal as well,” said Bruce English.
“It's going to connect the two cities. One could conceivably live in one city, work in another. So there are a number of reasons why I'm passionate about it."
Companies have proposed to build and even pay for the line.
Bill Cruickshanks, president of Alberta High Speed Rail, believes that private financing would get the project build faster.
"You have got a shorter time-frame for getting things done, and that keeps the cost down,” he said.
“The government's not having to take public money away from any other major department."
Not everyone at the meeting thinks high speed rail is necessary or realistic.
Parkland county resident Hans Zurcher doesn’t believe the line will attract enough riders to justify the cost.
“It's absolutely not feasible at this stage,” he said. “The population is much too small."
But the chairman of the committee, Calgary MLA Moe Amery, believes the province needs to start building for the future.
"We have been growing by a 100,000 people every year, and I think we will continue to grow and transportation is very important for economic prosperity."
Amery’s committee will send a report on the public hearings to the Legislative Assembly in May.