Support from a sitting American President brought significant attention to a transportation project that could open new markets for northern Alberta products and mean new investment in the region.
In September 2020, the former United States administration gave approval to the Alaska to Alberta (A2A) rail line, a 2,500-kilometre track that will connect Alberta to tidewater in Valdez, Alaska. It’s a project the Regional Economic Development Initiative of Northwest Alberta (REDI) has been working on for a number of years.
REDI at a Glance
- Member Communities: 8
- Area: 82,001 sq km
- Population: 15,552
- Major Projects Value: $54 million
- Number of Businesses: 893
- Key Industries: Agriculture, Energy, Forestry, Tourism, Transportation
- Website: rediregion.ca
Sources: Government of Alberta, REDI
“A2A rail provides another option for Alberta to transport commodities to Asia,” says Andrew O’Rourke, manager of REDI. “It’s a more efficient trans-pacific shipping route linking Alberta to world markets.”
O’Rourke notes the new rail line could cut four days off the freight journey to Asia and could lead to a raft of new opportunities for investment in northwestern Alberta.
“A2A will be instrumental in supporting economic development and diversification in northwest Alberta. There will be many benefits to having the rail line pass through our region,” O’Rourke says. “There is the potential for diamond mining, oil and gas exploration, and value-added agriculture.”
The new A2A rail line is anticipated to cost $22 billion and could create as many as 18,000 jobs. Construction is anticipated to be complete in 2025.