Government of Canada to continue funding Northern Ontario passenger rail service



    OTTAWA, Jan. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada is providing
Algoma Central Railway with $4.2 million in operating funding to continue
passenger rail service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, Ontario until
March 31, 2009. The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health and Minister
for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor),
made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
    "Algoma Central Railway is an economic and community lifeline in Northern
Ontario and our government is proud to support this valuable service," said
Minister Clement. "By investing in local infrastructure and transportation, we
are investing in the people of Northern Ontario, and that's an investment that
always pays dividends."
    "Passenger rail services in this region contribute to the economic and
social well-being of its communities," said Minister Cannon. "This funding
will allow Algoma Central Railway to continue to provide a safe, efficient and
comfortable transportation option to local residents and area visitors."
    In addition to providing a valuable transportation service to local
residents, Algoma Central Railway's Sault Ste. Marie-to-Hearst passenger rail
service supports the regional economy by carrying customers, staff and
supplies to remote commercial lodges and wilderness tour points, many of which
can only be reached by rail. The service transported 7,842 passengers in 2007.
    For over a decade, the Government of Canada has demonstrated its
commitment to the Sault Ste. Marie-to-Hearst, Ontario service by providing
operating funding of up to $2.1 million per year to Algoma Central Railway,
which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CN. In 2006, the federal government also
provided Algoma Central Railway with $1.5 million for the refurbishment of its
passenger rail fleet. The revitalized fleet, along with upgrades and
modifications, was put into service in April 2007.
    "CN welcomes the government's continued support for this passenger rail
service," said Michael A. Cory, vice-president of CN's eastern region. "CN, as
the passenger service operator and maintainer of the fleet, will do its part
to deliver quality service to support the communities serviced by this
important Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst rail line."

    Federal funding comes from Transport Canada's Regional and Remote
Passenger Rail Services Class Contribution Program. The program ensures that
safe, reliable, viable and sustainable passenger rail services are provided to
areas of the country where these services are either the only means of surface
transportation for remote communities, or an alternative means of
transportation for rural communities. These services also support economic
activities in the lumber, mining, recreation and tourism sectors and provide
an essential lifeline for isolated communities.




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Rita Smith, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Health and
Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
(FedNor), Ottawa, (613) 957-4252; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa
(613) 993-0055; Frank Binder, Regional Manager, Public and Government Affairs,
CN Concord, Ontario, (905) 669-3128; Transport Canada is online at
www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at
apps.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport
Canada. This news release may be made available in alternative formats for
persons with visual disabilities.


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