The Alberta government has included $5 million in its 2023-24 budget to advance the development of the Calgary Airport Banff Rail (CABR) heavy rail project.

The funding will allow for engineering work for extending the LRT Blue line to the airport from the east and determining optimal connections at the airport for seamless integration with CABR’s heavy rail express system to move people west and south to downtown Calgary.

Premier Danielle Smith prioritized the CABR project at the Tourism Advocacy Summit in Edmonton on budget day. She spoke of the proposal for a hydrogen train connecting Calgary to Banff, and the value of the investment by the province. She believes it could position Alberta as a world leader in cutting-edge clean technology while providing valuable experiences to worldwide travellers.

“I think that if we can put those pieces together and, as a province, help facilitate some of that big infrastructure, then once you’ve got at least a couple of those legs started then other (train projects) will be able to develop from it.”

Over the last two years, Liricon Capital Ltd. and its development partner, Plenary Group, have worked closely with engineering consultants to develop a plan for an integrated, multi-rail transportation hub at the Calgary Airport (YYC).

“The February 28 budget was an important milestone in advancing the Calgary Airport Banff Rail project," states Jan Waterous, Managing Partner with Liricon Capital Ltd. "The province and city are now aligned on providing efficient integrated public transit connections for all the markets the airport serves. We look forward to working with all levels of government to develop world-class rail services from the Calgary Airport."

Liricon/Plenary has entered into memorandums of understanding (MOU) with both the Calgary Airport Authority, the City of Calgary, as well as other stakeholders and proponents of the proposed high-speed rail connections between Calgary and Edmonton.

The passenger service is proposed to include a stop in Cochrane. The town, and Mayor Jeff Genung in particular, have been advocating for its completion. The town is also listed as one of the sponsors of Friends of CABR.