Harper Commits Millions in Federal Funding for Winnipeg Inland Port

Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper went on a flood tour Tuesday to see first hand the damage caused. The PM made a stop in Morris, along with Premier Gary Doer and federal Treasury Board President Vic Toews during the noon-hour.

Later in the afternoon, Harper made a joint announcement with Doer at the James Richardson International Airport’s Observation Lounge. Showing up about 25 minutes late to the 2 p.m. news conference, Harper announced that both federal and provincial governments are committing more than $212 million to build CentrePort Canada Way. This priority infrastructure project will be fast-tracked to support the development of CentrePort Canada, Manitoba’s 20,000-acre inland port.

The funding will develop CentrePort Canada Way, a four-lane divided expressway linking the inland port to the Perimeter Highway.  The high-speed corridor will connect Inkster Boulevard, the James A. Richardson International Airport and the CP Weston rail intermodal facility to the Perimeter Highway near Saskatchewan Avenue.

Harper mentioned that it only made sense for the port to be in Winnipeg, as just last year the city rebranded itself with a new slogan, “Heart of the Continent.”

The governments of Manitoba and Canada have supported CentrePort Canada through a variety of recent joint-funding initiatives including $85 million to upgrade Highway 75, Manitoba’s key trade route to the U.S., and $48 million for upgrades to the Hudson Bay rail line and the port of Churchill.

The province also introduced legislation to allow tax increment financing to support development in the inland port area and Budget 2009 expanded the fuel tax exemption for international cargo flights to include direct and indirect flights to the U.S.

— With files from ChrisD.ca’s Sarah Klein and the Province of Manitoba