Truckers ask federal transport minister to end speculation on railway subsidy proposals (September 10, 2001)

by Canadian Shipper

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has written to federal transport minister David Collenette asking him to clear the air on media reports suggesting the federal government is considering a proposal from CP Rail to divert traffic from truck to train by subsidizing new rail lines.

"While details of this latest proposal are sketchy, they point to a $ 2 billion scheme to subsidize railway intermodal operationsan amount equivalent to what truckers and motorists in Ontario pay in federal fuel taxes each year. The reports quote government sources as saying it is being pushed from ‘within’," a CTA release states.

David Bradley, chief executive officer of the Alliance said that the reports are creating confusion and concern in the industry. According to Bradley, these rumors risk derailing transport minister Collenette’s Transportation Blueprint consultations.

"A few months ago, Transport Minister Collenette asked our industry to join him in developing a ‘blueprint’ for transportation in Canada," said Bradley. "In light of persistent rumors suggesting that Transport Canada is pushing for rail-friendly subsidy programs, we’re left wondering whether the minister’s mind is not already made up."

"The minister should answer a simple question: does he support using taxpayer dollars to subsidize rail operations?"

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