The Canadian Chamber of Commerce ramped up its support for VIA Rail’s plan to build a dedicated passenger rail line connecting Southwestern Ontario to cities along the Windsor-Quebec corridor—a plan that the Sarnia Lambton Chamber has been pushing for along with Rail Advocacy in Lambton since they brought the issue to the attention of the Canadian Chamber in 2016.
If implemented, the plan would help drive our regional economy, reduce traffic congestion and take 2.4 million cars off the road while reducing harmful carbon emissions.
In “5 Minutes for Business,” Hendrik Brakel, senior director of Economic, Financial and Tax Policy at the Canadian Chamber, discusses the idea of tailoring infrastructure spending to areas of the country where bottlenecks exist rather than evenly spreading the spending (which is taxpayer funded). “We need to prioritize investments in transportation capacity where they’re needed most,” writes Brakel.
In his piece, Brakel says another example of the right kind of infrastructure spending is in improvements to broadband coverage, especially in rural and remote areas. There is also a need to improve tax incentives.
A third major priority is the building of export trade corridors, an example of which is the Oversized Load Corridor project, which the Sarnia Lambton Chamber also advocates for. Unfortunately, writes Brakel in his “5 Minutes” essay, only about 13 percent of proposed federal spending is going to trade and transportation. “That’s why we’re excited about the potential of the Canadian Infrastructure Bank,” writes Brakel, with the VIA Rail proposal being specifically mentioned as an example of “what the Infrastructure Bank should be doing.”