Abandoned Railways

Res #: 35-01A
Number: 35
Year: 2001
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Transport Canada

Resolution No. 35-01A

WHEREAS, the rural municipalities in North Central Saskatchewan have lost many miles of rail line resulting in RM roads being under more pressure; and

WHEREAS, prior to March 2000 the $10,000 per mile for three years was paid into federal transportation with the municipalities receiving nothing; and

WHEREAS, the rural municipalities have lost a lot of money (in the millions) by this going into the complete transportation system;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby the provincial and federal governments to make payment to municipalities retroactive on all abandoned railways.

Response from Hon. David M. Collenette:

This resolution requests that the $10,000 per mile compensation paid to municipalities following rail line abandonment be made retroactive for all the abandoned railways. As I noted in my letter to you of January 4, 2001, the measures contained in Bill C-34 cannot be applied retroactively. As such, any line discontinuance that took place before July 27, 2000, must be guided by the provisions that existed at that time.

I would point out that, under the provisions of the Canada Transportation Act before the recent amendments, the costs associated with moving regulated grain were reduced by $10,000 per discontinued mile of grain-dependent branch line. This resulted in reduced regulated rail rates across the entire system. Furthermore, the regulated rate system was subsequently replaced by an annual limit on railway grain revenues.

Consequently, all previous discontinued lines were accounted for by lower overall revenue earned by Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Therefore, as was the case for all grain-dependent branch line discountenances prior to the recent amendments to the Act, the benefits to producers have been realized across the entire regulated grain transportation system.