Alberta Alaska Rail Corridor
2019 Provincial Election Platform Policy
An Alberta Party government would take bold steps to secure long-term coastal access for Alberta products, by bypassing BC coastlines, and securing the right-of-way and approvals for an Alberta-to-Alaska railway and pipeline corridor.
We are proud of what we make. We know the world wants to buy it and therefore tidewater access is essential for the long term growth of the Oilsands. Trans Mountain, even if it gets built, will only provide for a few years of growth. We need to secure greater access for our resources and start that process today. We’ve tried going East, West, and South only to find opponents blocking our efforts. It’s time to go North where we have willing partners and the opportunity to achieve a truly nation building project” - former Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel.
- In 2013, the Government of Alberta provided funding to the Van Horne Institute to explore the possibility of an Alberta-to-Alaska railway . Since that time, groups in the private sector have started work towards bringing life to the project.
- An Alberta Party Government would make the project a reality by taking the lead on establishing an Indigenous-led, Alberta Government supported consortium to secure the right-of-way and take the lead on securing necessary permits and approvals.
- A total of $10 million would be allocated to the efforts required to bring the consortium together and perform stakeholder consultations. The private sector will be responsible for the capital costs of the project.
- The rail line would connect Fort McMurray with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System at Delta Junction, where it would take oil to the established tidewater Port of Valdez.
- Construction would be for a conventional double-tracked railway and would provide one million barrels per day of capacity , equivalent to the proposed Energy East pipeline.
- Construction of the rail line would boost the economy, improve life for people along the route, open up valuable new sources of forestry and mining resources, and alleviate rail capacity issues for Alberta’s agricultural sector.
- Alberta requires long-term coastal access in order to move its products to global markets and obtain better prices for those products. A lack of pipeline capacity is one of the major factors causing a discount in the price Alberta receives for its oil.
- Global oil demand continues to grow, driven by growth in East Asia and India. Global demand for agriculture and agri-food products also continues to grow, as the world’s population increases.
- Recent history has shown that British Columbia is hostile to coastal access. Even in the face of an approval by Canada’s national energy regulator, the Government of British Columbia has taken steps to obstruct the TransMountain expansion.
- Even if the TransMountain and Keystone XL pipelines are constructed, Alberta stands to face pipeline capacity issues in the late 2020s. It makes sense to plan now and establish additional routes to the coast.
- Total construction cost of the Alberta-to-Alaska rail project is estimated at between $15 billion and $27 billion.
NOTE: Edited on Sep 28, 2020 to indicate Mr. Mandel as former leader.