Task force set as plans forge ahead to move train traffic outside Winnipeg
Jeff Keele, CTV Winnipeg
Published Thursday, January 14, 2016 12:34PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, January 14, 2016 6:55PM CST
The vision of getting trains and tracks out of Winnipeg could be a step closer to becoming a reality.
The Selinger government is spending $400,000 on a task force to determine the cost benefits of relocating rail lines outside city limits.
Former Quebec Premier Jean Charest will lead the study.
"When this is done, it will not be the same city. It's going to be a different place," said Charest.
Supporters say moving rail lines can ease traffic and help with urban renewal by building modern developments where the tracks once stood.
"People will want housing; they will want parks, they will want recreation space, they will want good transportation linkages," said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.
Winnipeg could save money by not having to build expensive new underpasses or replace crumbling infrastructure like the Arlington Street bridge.
But other key players, such as Ottawa and the rail companies, need to come to the table for the project to move ahead.
Both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific said rail line relocation is complex and expensive.
The feasibility study could take up to two years to complete.
Selinger said the report will outline what can be done in the short and long term, and what would be prohibitive.
If tracks are moved, proponents say it will spur development and prevent the need for expensive underpasses and bridges in the future. (File image)