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More reliance on rail equals less greenhouse-gas emissions, says CPR's Ritchie


By expanding the role of freight and passenger rail, Canada can substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s the message Canadian Pacific Railway President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ritchie delivered Nov. 5 in a speech before the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, according to a prepared statement.

"Given the opportunity, rail can do more to make our air cleaner, relieve traffic congestion in our cities, make trucking more efficient by transporting truck trailers between terminals in major hubs and preserve land that otherwise would be lost to highway expansion," he said.

Transportation modes are Canada's largest greenhouse-gas producers, emitting 27 percent of air pollutants — but cars and trucks account for more than 70 percent of those emissions, Ritchie said.

Railroads, which annually carry 60 percent of surface freight and 51 million commuters, emit 4 percent of greenhouse gases.

Ritchie expressed hope that Canada's new transportation blueprint, which
Canada Transportation Agency expects to announce later this month, will recognize the importance of railroads to the country's growth.

"I believe that the national debate on transportation is about to go into high gear," he said. "Improving rail services in Canada should be a national priority."