Earlier this month, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced $2.1 billion towards the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative. The majority of that funding is going toward a merit based program to strengthen Canada’s trade corridors to international markets. In addition, that funding is to be supplemented by at least $5 billion from the Canada Infrastructure Bank for similar trade related infrastructure.
That is a whole pile of money, and there needs to be a laser focus on ensuring all of it goes towards infrastructure that will give the biggest bang for the buck. A firm return on investment criteria needs to be placed on these trade focused infrastructure projects. Investments need to ensure that our goods and services are moving faster, cheaper and more reliably than they would have previously.
Manitoba has been largely overlooked in past federal trade infrastructure programs, but we are key to the mid continental corridor. Over 100 million people live within a 24 hour drive of Winnipeg, and we are home to North America’s largest inland port, CentrePort. Imperial Seed is just the latest company to open up a facility there. We already have strong assets in place: now is the time for focused investments so we can meet the opportunities that lie down the road.