WINNIPEG, May 25, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport) and Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assinniboia and VIA Rail Canada today announced a $6.5 million investment in Winnipeg's Union Station to improve public areas, accessibility, passenger services and amenities, and the exterior of the heritage building. Of the total funding, $3 million is from Government of Canada funding to VIA of $923 million announced since 2007 and $3.5 million comes from Budget 2012. These improvements build on $3 million in upgrades to the station completed last year, which earned environmental certification from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Manitoba.
"Today we again see the positive results of investments in VIA Rail that made further upgrades to Winnipeg's heritage Union Station possible", said Minister Fletcher. "The Government of Canada is proud to continue to support projects like this that create jobs right here in Winnipeg"
The project announced today includes renovations of passenger waiting areas, new fully accessible public washrooms, exterior improvements, and upgraded security systems. In addition, VIA will clean, repair and restore the central rotunda, one of the most striking features of the heritage station that officially opened in June 1912.
"Union Station and passenger rail have played an important role in the history of Winnipeg and Manitoba, and indeed all of Western Canada," VIA Chairman Paul Smith said. "As the station's centennial year draws to a close, the work we are announcing here today marks the start of a new century. It is an investment in the future for VIA, and for Winnipeg."
In 2007 the Government of Canada announced a five-year, $516 million investment to strengthen passenger rail services. Another $407 million was added in 2009 through the Economic Action Plan, the Government's economic stimulus program. In Budget 2012, the government awarded a further $60 million for additional capital improvements. It adds up to $983 million - the biggest capital investment in VIA Rail's history. With it, VIA is laying down new track, revamping locomotives and passenger cars, renovating train stations, and building new stations, leading to safer and faster intercity travel, with more trains and connections every day, equipment and facilities that give passengers more reliable services and services that are more environmentally friendly than ever before.
About Union Station
Union Station has been a landmark at the end of Broadway Avenue in downtown Winnipeg since its opening. The largest station owned by VIA Rail, it was added to the list of heritage buildings recommended for conservation by the City of Winnipeg in 1980, due to its influence on the expansion of the city during the pre-World War I boom as well as its exceptional architectural design. In 1989, Union Station was officially designated a heritage building by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
Investment in Passenger Rail
Since 2007 the Government of Canada has announced $923 million in funding for VIA Rail to improve facilities, equipment and infrastructure. This investment includes $407 million through the Economic Action Plan.
In the 2012 Budget the Government also announced funding for 2011-2012 of which $45 million is to support VIA's operations and $60 million for capital projects in track signalling systems, track components, station repairs and information technology. These are projects that will enhance the safety and efficiency of VIA's passenger rail service.
Of the total funding of $6.5 million for upgrades to Winnipeg Station announced today, $3 million is from funding to VIA of $923 million announced since 2007 and $3.5 million comes from Budget 2012.
Information on VIA's capital projects is available online at: http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/capital-investment
For further information:
Office of the Honourable Steven Fletcher
Minister of State (Transport)
Transport Canada - Ottawa
VIA Rail Canada
514 946-4160 (CELL)