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Transportation Minister leaves sliver of hope for Island rail restoration project

The federal transportation minister has responded to a petition to restore rail service on Vancouver Island.

Islander Warren Skaalrud started the petition at the beginning of the year through the House of Commons, and it collected thousands of signatures before closing this week. Skaalrud and others say the corridor is a much-needed alternative to growing commuter congestion along the highway.

On Friday, Transportation Minister Pablo Rodriguez responded.

The minister didn’t commit to the project but didn’t rule it out. He commended all who have been working to restore the rail line from Victoria to Courtenay. The minister says if re-elected, his government has committed to a new federal fund for public transportation starting in 2025 which could help the project.

A detailed provincial estimate from 2020 suggests it will cost at least $300 million to restore the railway, with Victoria to Langford needing most of the work.

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