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Canada to provide $500 million for rail, port infrastructure projects

On Friday, Canadian Transport Minister Jean Lapierre announced the federal government plans to provide $500 million to fund infrastructure improvements in western Canada as part of the Pacific Gateway Strategy.

The funds would help fast-track rail and port infrastructure projects in British Columbia and along a trade route east of Vancouver, Class I and Railway Association of Canada officials said in separate statements. The projects would enable more containerized and bulk commodities traffic to move via rail between central Canada, the Prairies and West Coast ports, and Canada to double trade with China to $60 billion annually during the next five years.

“The announcement is an encouraging sign to the private sector and offers the possibility to build upon CPR’s investment of $160 million this year to expand our western track network,” said Canadian Pacific Railway Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Fred Green.

The funds would back projects that bolster Canadian National Railway Co.’s intermodal and bulk traffic at the Port of Vancouver, and help the Port of Prince Rupert become a key gateway for Asian container traffic entering North America, said Peter Marshall, vice president of CN’s Western Canada Region.

“This new strategy will enhance CN’s network that connects both ports to key production and consumption markets in Canada and the United States,” he said.

The Vancouver port already is expanding terminals to meet growth projections, said Vancouver Port Authority President and Chief
Executive Officer Gordon Houston.

“None of this investment means anything if we don't invest in expanding the road and rail networks that move goods to and from the port,” he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/24/2005