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Assessing rail service between Calgary and Banff

The Alberta government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to assess the feasibility of a new passenger rail service between Calgary and Banff.

The service would run between Calgary International Airport and Banff, with potential stops in between.

“Our government is creating an environment where investors and job creators can succeed in Alberta. We are pleased to be partnering with the CIB to complete a feasibility study for the Calgary-Banff Rail project. The CIB brings expertise and experience that is needed for a project of this scale. We look forward to learning more about this exciting project and hearing from our community partners about how this opportunity can support our tourism industry and get our economy back on track.” Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation
“We are pleased to be building a strong partnership with the Government of Alberta. An important part of the CIB’s role is to work closely with governments across Canada to advance new infrastructure opportunities. The Calgary-Banff Rail project is the first of many potential projects for the CIB in Alberta.” Michael Sabia, board chair, Canada Infrastructure Bank
“We were elected with a platform commitment to double the size of our tourism industry, and this type of project is the type of bold and innovative strategic thinking that we need to consider if we want to properly show off Alberta’s majestic landscapes and scenery. We know that Alberta’s tourism industry is world-class, and we will build it to new heights.” Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism
“I have been a huge advocate for this project within our government since being elected last spring. The potential for a beautiful passenger rail service running through the Rocky Mountains poses a tremendous opportunity to attract international visitors and grow our tourism economy here in Alberta and is an opportunity I am extremely excited about. At a time in our history when many tourism economies have been effectively devastated by COVID-19 travel restrictions, I believe there is no better time to consider this strategic investment in our tourism industry and give hope to our industry operators than right now. Today’s announcement serves as a vote of confidence from our government that we support Alberta’s world-class tourism industry and are committed to helping it grow to its full potential over the course of our governance.” Miranda Rosin, MLA, for Banff-Kananaskis

The cost of the feasibility study will be paid for by the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Quick facts

  • In 2017, Alberta saw:

    • $8.9 billion in tourism expenditures – an increase of five per cent from the previous year

    • 36.9 million person-visits – an increase of 6.1 per cent from the previous year

  • Banff is an important tourism destination in Alberta. Banff National Park attracts about four million visitors a year.

  • About 23,000 vehicles travel Highway 1 in both directions at the Banff National Park gates every day.

  • The growing number of visitors to the area is increasing traffic congestion on highways and local roads.

  • The CIB uses federal funding to attract private sector and institutional investment into revenue-generating projects that are in the public interest. 

  • Government is building a bold 10-year tourism strategy to double tourism spending in our province to $20 billion by 2030.

Related information

Provincial Press Release June 9, 2020 @ 1:39


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