Canadian government extends Amtrak Cascades for another year

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VANCOUVER, B.C. – Amtrak will continue to run a second Cascades train between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle for another year without a proposed fee being imposed, the Canadian federal government announced Thursday, according to a story in the Vancouver Sun.

"We have agreed to extend the service for one year," Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said during a hastily arranged news conference. Toews said he asked the Canada Border Services Agency to "dig deep and find the money," about $800,000.

The second Amtrak Cascades train was part of a pilot project for the 2010 Winter Olympics that was supported by millions of dollars from both the Washington state and B.C. provincial governments. But the Canada Border Services Agency, after agreeing to extend the service beyond its original March deadline, told Amtrak it planned to begin charging the company $1,500 a day starting Nov. 1.

The fee, to recover the cost of processing passengers on the second train, was expected to add $20 to a ticket, making the service uncompetitive.

The government now promises the train will continue fee-free until next October. Washington state said it estimates the second train has brought about $15 million a year in additional revenue to Vancouver's tourism industry, with about 75 additional passengers a day.
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Amtrak will continue to run a second Cascades train between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle for another year without a proposed fee being imposed, the Canadian federal government announced Thursday, according to a story in the Vancouver Sun.

"We have agreed to extend the service for one year," Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said during a hastily arranged news conference. Toews said he asked the Canada Border Services Agency to "dig deep and find the money," about $800,000.

The second Amtrak Cascades train was part of a pilot project for the 2010 Winter Olympics that was supported by millions of dollars from both the Washington state and B.C. provincial governments. But the Canada Border Services Agency, after agreeing to extend the service beyond its original March deadline, told Amtrak it planned to begin charging the company $1,500 a day starting Nov. 1.

The fee, to recover the cost of processing passengers on the second train, was expected to add $20 to a ticket, making the service uncompetitive.

The government now promises the train will continue fee-free until next October. Washington state said it estimates the second train has brought about $15 million a year in additional revenue to Vancouver's tourism industry, with about 75 additional passengers a day.
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