CAPT Receives Letter from MARP to Minister of Transport

2

The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains received a copy of this letter sent by the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP) to Minister of Transport, the Hon. Marc Garneau.  It reiterates the same message that has been written to Minister Garneau by Michiganers who would normally be bringing their tourism dollars to Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma District but due to the suspension of the passenger service have not been crossing the border over the past year.

With the low loonie Americans would be coming in droves to take the Algoma passenger train to resorts, canoe trips, snow-mobile expeditions, ice-fishing or going to their own properties along the rail corridor.  Our local businesses  e.g. restaurants, hotels, grocery and liquor stores, sports outfitting stores, resorts, outfitters, hardware and building supply stores) are losing the business of our American friends.

With the downturn in our local economy tourism is supposed to be one of our prime economic diversifiers.  The minor annual investment of 2.2 million by the federal government (phasing out over a few years) would be contributing at least 38-48 million dollars a year and approximately 170 to 220 jobs (BDO Economic Impact Assessment of ACR Passenger Rail Service).


 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport
347 Preston St, Ottawa, ON K1S 3J4, Canada

Honorable Sir:

The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers urges you to restore passenger service on the Algoma Line, Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst.

Several of our members have told me how they enjoyed travel on the line when it was in service. (I have personally only been as far as Agawa Canyon with my wife on the “Snow Train” – but the dramatic beauty of the land is unforgettable.)

Our friends and associates in Canada inform us that the rail line has been classified as “not remote”, and hence not eligible for Federal funding. Yet they assure us that along 75% of the line access roads are private logging roads which are not open to the public and are not maintained in passable condition year-round.

It would appear that many flourishing businesses providing lodging, food, outdoor guides, camping, and wilderness supplies in this region will go out of business due to lack of access. It would be poor fiscal policy to let that happen, and force the people depending on these businesses to move to cities like Toronto already struggling with overcrowding.

We therefore call upon the Minister of Transport to put the Algoma passenger train back in service in order to ensure the mission of Transport Canada to “serve the public interest through promotion of a safe and secure, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation system in Canada” is fulfilled.

Sincerely,

Laurence J. Krieg, PhD
Chair, Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers


About CAPT

The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of individuals, businesses, First Nations, municipalities and other interests who recognize the significant economic, social, cultural, historical and environmental value of passenger rail servicing and interconnecting the people, businesses and communities of Northern Ontario’s Algoma District to each other, Ontario, Canada and the rest of the world. To accomplish this goal, CAPT has been working with local groups to organize events in the community that utilize the railway as a means of advertising and demonstrating its usefulness in the area.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It is very strange that the current Liberal gov’t, which claims that infrastructure spending will lead to eventual economic spin-offs, is not willing to jump-start what is essentially “turn-key” economic stimulus. It is a demonstrable fact (see BDO Canada study) that the Algoma passenger train generates in the range of at least some $30 million per year. For less than $2 million a year, they are, in such a scenario, giving up some $28 million in economic activity. Any investor in the private sector would be fired for not taking advantage of such a return on investment.

    Unfortunately, there could be in fact very petty politics at play here. The $5.3 million of support over three years, that Garneau rejected with faulty reasoning (i.e. that the line is not “remote” & those along it have good roads), was a Conservative idea…and the train runs thru primarily NDP territory. Is this a case of actually hurting the Northern Ontario economy in order to avoid giving a boost to another party? There is no factual reason for not funding the Algoma train for at least the initially proposed three years and so, until demonstrated otherwise, this appears to be the Liberals playing politics with the livelihoods and transportation needs of those in Northern Ontario.

    Chad Beharriell, Iron Bridge (ON)

  2. “…coming in droves…”??? Ummm, yea…sure…then the market economy will pay for the operation of this line, instead of the taxpayers…

Comments are closed.