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Premier asks transportation minister to build rail services from airports to downtown Edmonton, Calgary

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith sent a mandate letter to her minister of transportation on Tuesday.

In it, Smith asked Devin Dreeshen to finalize the investment of $300 million in projects such as road and bridge construction, LRT connections and the new Calgary arena.

The letter also includes the idea to build rail services to connect the Edmonton and Calgary airports to each city's downtown:

  • As lead, collaborating with the President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance to explore cost-sharing arrangements with the private sector and/or municipalities that support economic investment in Alberta's transportation network, including public transit, heavy rail and bridge infrastructure that better connects the Calgary and Edmonton airports to their downtowns, regional communities to Calgary and Edmonton, and Calgary to the province’s Rocky Mountains parks system. This must initially include completing the Blue Line link to the Calgary airport.
  • Examining the feasibility of a province-led Metrolinx-like model for commuter rail service using heavy rail on the Canadian Pacific rail line from Airdrie to Okotoks and the Edmonton International Airport to downtown Edmonton, with a view to developing a commuter rail system that can expand as Alberta grows. Part of the feasibility study should include the use of hydrogen-powered trains.

"Being able to ensure people can get to and from the airport is something that we want to be able to work in both Edmonton and Calgary to try to make that just a little bit easier in people's daily commutes," Dreeshen said.

"Being able to move from downtown and anywhere along the LRT line to make sure you can get to the Edmonton International Airport, it makes life a lot easier and a lot better here in the province."

The projects are in the early stages with feasibility plans underway. If the studies go well in the next year or so, the province will work to fund the projects.

The City of Edmonton is "excited" about the idea, it said in an email to CTV News.

"Not only would a regional transit connection to the Edmonton International Airport provide people with more diverse and convenient travel options, it would also promote regional and global connectivity which improves regional competitiveness and economic prosperity," a spokesperson said.

"It would help with investments into the downtown and make it easier for conferences to be held here for delegates to get back and forth from the airport," Mayor Amarjeet Sohi added.

Smith had several other tasks for Dreeshen, including upgrading major highways and roads in the Edmonton and Calgary areas, redeveloping regional airports, and improving transportation and water infrastructure in Indigenous communities. Top Stories

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