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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Canadian government launches transportation legislation review a year early

Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt yesterday announced the government will launch a review of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) a year ahead of schedule, fulfilling a government promise made in spring to accelerate the statutory review.

The review will address a range of changing conditions and challenges, including those related to the transportation of grain in the Prairies, Raitt said in a press release, adding that the review would begin by analyzing grain by rail. The nation's transportation system includes more than 28,300 miles of track, 240 ports and harbors, and 300 airports.

The review also will examine what improvements could be made in a number of transportation areas, such as gateways and corridors, safety and environmental issues, technology's role in improving services and infrastructure, and federally regulated passenger-rail services.

"This review comes at a critical time when we need — more than ever — a safe, efficient and clean transportation system to move goods and people, and help Canadian businesses seize new opportunities and continue to compete internationally," said Raitt. "We need to create the right conditions for a system that has the capacity and flexibility to respond to global and domestic demands."

In addition to analyzing the CTA, the review will scrutinize other legislation, existing laws and regulations pertaining to transportation competitiveness. How government, industries and other stakeholders address key transportation issues will be explored, as well.

David Emerson will head the review with the support of five advisers representing a range of transportation perspectives and industry experiences, said Raitt. Emerson is expected to submit recommendations to Raitt by late next year.

Railway Association of Canada (RAC) officials welcomed the accelerated CTA review. Throughout the review process, the federal government will call upon the rail sector to provide input on realistic ways to improve Canada’s transportation system, RAC officials said in a press release.

The rail industry will highlight the importance of supply chain collaboration, network capacity investments, and winter weather’s impact on rail technologies and service reliability, said RAC President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Bourque.

"The Canadian railway industry is anxious to participate in this review," he said. "It will allow us to foster a greater understanding of rail’s significant capacity and its positive role in both export and domestic supply chains."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/26/2014