Last week in Sault Ste. Marie, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau made a federal funding announcement for the Sault Ste. Marie Airport. A project to upgrade the electrical services at the main service building will be jointly funded by Transport Canada and the SSM Airport (360,868 and $440,000 respectively).
During his visit, Minister Garneau also made it known that Transport Canada is pulling the $5.3 million over three years subsidy, that had been pledged by the Harper Government, because the Algoma Passenger Train is no longer eligible to tap into the Remote Passenger Rail Program. Under the new criteria, subsidy is only available to remote communities where rail is the only method of access.
Instead funding may come from Indigenous & Northern Affairs. Minister Garneau explained that INAC’s mandate to work with First Nations on economic development will make them the primary funder. Transport Canada will assist with any transport-related safety and regulatory issues.
Missanabie Cree Chief Jason Gauthier, who is head of the working group is obviously disappointed but remains optimistic. With support recently received from CN, the working group continues to move forward.
The ACR Passenger Train celebrated 100 years of service in 2014.