Railways provide many benefits to Canada and Canadians, economically and environmentally, and railway infrastructure needs to be given the same importance as that given to the road system in Canada.
Canadian railways cross some of the most rugged topography in the world and operate under severe climatic conditions, ranging from extreme cold and snow to heat and humidity.
Improved federal funding for developing, maintaining and upgrading our freight and passenger rail transportation systems across the country will enable railroads and transits to reduce highway overcrowding and ease the burden on public highway infrastructure.
In addition, some provinces, such as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Manitoba, have recognized the burdens that certain railways assume in maintaining their infrastructure, (such as property taxes on rights-of-way), and have offered both tax relief and financial assistance. Expansion of such policies and programs by the federal government and other provinces would contribute to the continued viability of the industry.
We must ensure that adequate investments are being made by all levels of government in strategic public infrastructure, especially in improved and expanded transportation networks.
For example, the current freight car loading standard for the North American railway industry is 286,000 lbs. The short-line infrastructure cannot handle these loads and are unable to privately fund the upgrade on their own as their profit margins are limited. Public-private partnerships would allow the upgrades to progress providing environmental and societal benefits to Canadians
The rail supply sector will play a critical role in responding to the needs of multi-modal infrastructure.