High-Speed Rail Not Best Use of Taxpayer Money on the Prairies

Audio, Transportation, Frontier Centre

There is renewed discussion in Alberta about building a high-speed rail link between Calgary and Edmonton.

The idea has been around in one form or another for more than 30 years, but experience elsewhere in the world suggests that a high-speed train on the Canadian prairies simply would not be economically viable.

Right now only two high-speed rail lines are profitable: the Tokyo-Osaka corridor in Japan and the Paris-Lyon bullet train in France.

Both areas are much more densely populated than the corridor in Alberta.

Even if there were more potential riders, a high-speed train cannot compete with the alternative of driving in a private vehicle along that route.

Most people will find it cheaper and more convenient to drive or carpool than pay for a train ticket, especially when you consider that they would still need to rent a car or take a taxi to their final destination.

Environmental considerations are not a significant plus. High-speed trains take more energy than conventional trains, planes or motor vehicles.

The Alberta government simply cannot afford such an unproven high risk venture that taxpayers would inevitably end up subsidizing.

I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.

For more on transportation policy, visit our website  www.fcpp.org.