The Government of Canada supports Ashcroft Terminal's expansion

ASHCROFT, BC, July 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, on behalf of the Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced a $5-million federal funding commitment to Ashcroft Terminal for the expansion of its industrial-zoned land into a multi-user rail facility.

"Our government is proud to support this project that will have important benefits for the local economy," said Minister Strahl. "By expanding rail access and rail service at the terminal, more industries will be able to use the facility, and this will lead to greater trade to the Asia-Pacific."

The expansion of the terminal just outside of Ashcroft will facilitate railway access for shippers within the region. The project will provide more train capacity and will improve the movement of goods travelling between the West Coast and the Ontario/Quebec region.

"This infrastructure contribution from the Government of Canada is extremely significant to Ashcroft Terminal's expansion and the Canadian supply chain. It will help Ashcroft Terminal install improved connectivity and access to the Asia-Pacific Gateway Corridor that gives railroads, producers and shippers options to improve efficiency in specific areas of their business," said Robert Landucci, CEO of Ashcroft Terminal. "The strategic location of Ashcroft Terminal, the ample skilled labour in the area and the access to a worldwide customer base will be significantly influenced by the continued development of Ashcroft Terminal."

The project will also help reduce the number of trucks in the Lower Mainland with the environmental benefit of reduced greenhouse gases.

Helping diversify the regional economy currently affected by the mountain pine beetle by providing transportation options for other local industries is also another key local benefit of this project.

The federal funding for this project comes from funds previously set aside under the Mountain Pine Beetle Program, which ended in March this year and is being delivered through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

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The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor is a network of transportation infrastructure, including British Columbia's Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert ports, their principal road and rail connections stretching across Western Canada and south to the United States, key border crossings and major Canadian airports.

The network serves all of Canada and aims to take advantage of Canada's strategic location at the crossroads between the North American marketplace and the booming economies of Asia.

On October 11, 2006, Prime Minister Harper announced the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI) with an initial investment of $591 million. A further commitment of $410 million was made in Budget 2007, bringing total federal funding for the Initiative to more than $1 billion. The APGCI is a long-term effort, focusing on infrastructure, policy, governance and operational issues together under a single multimodal, system-based, public-private strategy.

An investment of $44 million is being made towards APGCI-related surface transportation projects through the federal response to the mountain pine beetle infestation. The goal of the projects is to enhance the economic base of affected communities through economic development and infrastructure projects for the purpose of encouraging the long-term stability and diversification of economic activity in these communities.

In an era of rapidly moving and integrated global supply chains, policies and investments must consider entire transportation systems - systems that connect, for example, Asia with North America's economic heartland. In this context, making the right investments anywhere along the system benefits all who rely on it and not just those in jurisdictions where dollars are invested.

The Government of Canada's contributions to APGCI projects will improve the transportation system by:

    -   increasing transportation capacity;
    -   reducing congestion at key locations for Asia-Pacific trade;
    -   improving connections between modes; and
    -   enhancing its efficiency, safety and security.

The Government of Canada's investments will continue to promote increased investments by the private sector and other public-sector partners to ensure efficient and seamless connections between the various modes of transportation and improve traffic flows for international cargo.

SOURCE Transport Canada

For further information: For further information: Mélisa Leclerc, Director of Communications, Office of the President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, 613-952-5051; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055

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