Rail leaders take their turn in Ottawa

OTTAWA (Nov. 4, 1999) Ð Two weeks after trucking industry leaders made their case in Ottawa, rail industry officials take their turn today.

The Canadian railway industry and its supporters will press Parliamentarians and federal officials today for policy changes on taxes and other matters that they say hinder the industryÕs ability to compete with trucking companies and U.S. railroads.

“Sixty per cent of the workload of Canadian railways is international traffic that forms the backbone of the nation’s economy,’ said Bob Ballantyne, president of the Railway Association of Canada, which represents 51 freight and passenger railways. “But modal competition in Canada is unbalanced. Out-dated tax laws block our sustained investment in modern technology and equipment to improve service for freight customers and reduce their transportation costs.” He noted that railroad assets in the U.S. can be fully depreciated in a little more than half the time allowed in Canada.

“We will remind them that our economic viability is inseparable from the well-being of the Canadian economy and Canadians’ standard of living,’ Ballantyne said. “Road congestion and air pollution have grown into major public concerns, and should be public policy concerns, too. Not only does every 100-car train take 275 big trucks off congested highways but rail is also achieving a six to one superiority over truck in greenhouse gas emissions per revenue ton mile.”

Last month, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, a federation of Canada’s seven regional for-hire trucking associations, led a delegation of about 60 trucking company leaders to Ottawa in an effort to raise the profile of the trucking industry there.

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