WINNIPEG — The former premier of Quebec has been named the chair of a task force that will work to relocate rail lines outside of Winnipeg.
Jean Charest will lead the project with a provincial budget of $400,000.
“Having worked with (Premier) Greg Selinger at the national level, I know that he has what it takes to make this project happen,” Charest said.
“The end result will be new jobs and economic development, reduced traffic congestion and a bold new vision for Manitoba’s capital city.”
The task force’s early work will be guided by four principles:
- ensure that rail relocation is approached from a broad, flexible perspective;
- ensure that early attempts at relocation are impartial and inclusive, and include a variety of societal and economic constituents;
- align with federal requirements to maximize program and funding participation; and
- ensure the key focus is enhanced railway efficiency and function in the capital region.
“Moving rail lines out of the city of Winnipeg is a historic opportunity to reshape our capital city for the future,” Selinger said.
Existing rail traffic could be handled by CentrePort Canada, Manitoba’s 20,000-acre inland port.
“As our city approaches a population of a million people and we continue to develop our inland port and related industries, it is important that we take a serious and bigger-picture look at modernizing our transportation networks,” said Diane Gray, president and CEO of CentrePort Canada Inc.
Charest added one of the biggest challenges of the project will be satisfying the needs of rail companies in the process.