Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Government of Canada will contribute to Vancouver Island Railway restoration

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The Canadian government has set aside up to CA$7.5 million (US$7.48 million) for work on the restoration of the Vancouver Island Railway between Victoria and Courtenay, BC.

Because of poor track conditions on the Vancouver Island Railway, passenger rail service between Victoria and Courtenay has been suspended due to safety concerns. Freight traffic is currently operating at reduced speeds.

The total costs of the project, to be undertaken by the Island Corridor Foundation, are estimated to be CA$15 million (US$14.96 million). Of this amount, CA$500,000 (US$ 498,653) has already been expended by the Province of British Columbia toward a bridge engineering study. The Government of Canada has set aside the funds through the Building Canada Fund - Major Infrastructure Component toward infrastructure work such as the cost of ballasting and the replacement of track ties and joints. The Island Corridor Foundation will be responsible for any additional costs that arise as part of this project. The work will address short-term operational issues, with the intention of making the corridor safe again for passenger service.

Federal funding for this project is conditional on the completion of a federal project review and the signing of a contribution agreement. Federal support is also conditional on the Province of British Columbia confirming its remaining contribution of CA$7 million toward the project. As well, the Island Corridor Foundation must confirm that no further federal investment will be required. This includes costs associated with repairs to the existing track and bridges and the costs associated with building a new passenger station in Esquimalt to replace the municipally-owned terminal in downtown Victoria, as well as any other costs that might arise.

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