OTTAWA, Ont. - It's been a long time coming, but the day when Canada's federal government puts, in writing, the importance of a comprehensive highway transportation strategy may not be far away.This i...
LONG RUN: The new CTA may set the trend for all future highway investment.
OTTAWA, Ont. – It’s been a long time coming, but the day when Canada’s federal government puts, in writing, the importance of a comprehensive highway transportation strategy may not be far away.
This is the message of one of the organizations that argued its case at the ongoing Canada Transportation Act (CTA) review.
Jim Fessette, executive director of TRIP/Canada – a special committee of the Canadian Construction Association, says the review can be forgiven for focusing on rail during its first six months of its 12-month agenda.
“The Act is silent on federal involvement on highways,” explains Fessette. The goal of his association is to highlight the need for road investment.
“So, for the panel to review, or to focus up to now, a great deal of attention on rail and one or two issues, is not only within the confines of not only its mandate, but also the existing Act.”
However, says Fessette, “the Act is only as good as its weakest link, and there is a link missing.”
The review, which is compulsory under the CTA, began last July 1, with a mission is to, “examine the extent to which current legislation and policy encourage or hinder the infrastructure investments …”
The Act governs not only the railways, but also the airlines, ports, seaways and navigation systems.
Since its creation, the panel has interviewed experts and listened to arguments put forward by the Canadian transportation industry’s movers and shakers. Everyone from Canadian National Railway to the Ontario Trucking Association has made presentations to the panel.
The panel – comprised of Brian Flemming, a Halifax lawyer, as chairman, and Jean Patenaude, as vice-chair; and Glen M. Findlay, William G Waters II, and former Ontario Premier Bob Rae – then has until June 30, to make recommendations to Ottawa.
What they recommend could rule federal infrastructure funding for years to come. Fessette, speaking to Truck News shortly after TRIP/ Canada made its pitch, says the success of the trucking industry and the railways are closely tied.
“When one works well, everything else works well too. Will rail dominate the recommendations of the report?” Fessette asks, rhetorically.
“Yes, I kind of expected, it’s in the mandate. But will highways be ignored? I don’t think they will.” n