The District of Port Edward has been searching for additional funding for upgrades to the rail crossings that run through the community and the federal government has announced a new $55-million fund for rail investments across the country.
On Oct. 12, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau revealed a new Rail Safety Improvement Program with more than $55 million for projects that enhance rail safety.
“Canadians rely on our rail system to be safe. As I’ve said many times, rail safety is my top priority, and I remain committed to reducing the number of accidents and incidents on Canada’s rail lines and over 20,000 federally regulated crossings. There are new technologies to improve railway safety that have proven effective, and through this new program, we can invest in them and expand their use nationwide,” Garneau said.
The new rail safety program will support improvements on rail property and rail lines, road-rail grade crossings including flashing lights, bells or gates and innovative technologies.
Port Edward has been looking into improving the many rail crossings that run through the community and this year council committed to going through with a pricey $1.24 million investment.
CAO Bob Payette said it will take five to six months to procure the materials for the upgrades and CN told the district it will try to get all the crossings done at once, which could take up to a month.
“No promises, but it looks like we’re going to get it done before the summer,” CAO Bob Payette said.
The mayor said they should try to get a hold of the federal government to get some money. Municipalities are included in the list of applicants.
The Federal Community of Municipalities (FCM) is lobbying on behalf of the all municipalities for the federal government to support them for required upgrades. “We did confirm that our crossing upgrades will bring us to the new regulations,” Payette said.
Port Edward has seven rail crossings and they will upgrade five, due to cost. It will cost approximately $1.24 million for the upgrades. The Port of Prince Rupert has already contributed $250,000 but other stakeholders haven’t offered any support.