Terrific to see rail safety being addressed in the federal budget released yesterday! This is a good start. There's still much work to be done to ensure that there are effective investments made to rail safety. We've crunched the numbers, and $143 million (over the next 3 years) is a significant increase of approximately $47 million spent in the previous 3 years.
From the Federal Budget for 2016 (pg. 191):
Many cities and towns across Canada were established because of the railroad, and our communities have grown around railway infrastructure over time.
Railways remain critical to the Canadian economy, carrying more than one third of Canada’s trade to and from border crossings and marine ports. The tragic incident at Lac-Mégantic, on July 6, 2013, highlighted the importance of rail safety and the regulation of the transportation of dangerous goods.
Following recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, a number of actions have been undertaken, including the implementation of amendments to the Railway Safety Act along with new regulations and standards, and increased frequency of inspections of high-risk dangerous goods operations. Rail traffic volumes are expected to continue to increase, and there
are further Transportation Safety Board recommendations to be implemented. Canadians expect industry and government to take action to mitigate the risks associated with the movement of goods by rail through their neighbourhoods.
Budget 2016 proposes to provide $143 million over three years on a cash basis to sustain existing measures and support new and expanded activities to strengthen oversight and enforcement, and to enhance prevention and response capabilities related to rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods.
New measures will include: increased inspection capacity and improved training for stronger and more consistent oversight across the country; enhanced systems for testing, classifying, registering and mapping dangerous goods and their movements, to support better risk management; increased federal contributions for local investments in safer railway crossings to help prevent accidents; and additional support for first responders to provide better tools and the information required to better protect communities.