Passenger rail service in the Algoma district generates between $38 million and $48 million in annual economic activity.
BDO Canada has prepared a preliminary socio-economic impact assessment of the Algoma Central Railway (ACR), which is in danger of being axed by Canadian National Railway (CN) in 2015.
In a report prepared for the City of Sault Ste. Marie, BDO said the Sault-to-Hearst service supports as many as 220 jobs and delivers more than $5 million in government tax revenues.
The city and its tourism stakeholders have a year to come up with a solution to keep the service running after CN threatened to discontinue the passenger run following a Transport Canada decision to drop a crucial annual subsidy to support the operation.
The federal government delivered a stay of execution on April 14 with a $2.2- million investment to keep the service going until next March 31.
“Our position has always been that the ACR passenger service provides a substantial economic benefit for Northern Ontario and the country as a whole, and now that we have this report from BDO, one of Canada’s leading accounting and advisory firms, our position has been confirmed,” said Joe Fratesi, CAO of the City of Sault Ste. Marie and chair of a special railway task force.
The final draft of the report is now being shared with Transport Canada, CN and stakeholders who use the rail service. The document is available online at www.algomapassengerrail.com