Federal funding to support rail projects in southern Sask.

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Federal Minister of Transportation Omar Alghabra was in Regina Thursday to announce funding for four rail-based projects in southern Sask. (CBC News - image credit)
Federal Minister of Transportation Omar Alghabra was in Regina Thursday to announce funding for four rail-based projects in southern Sask. (CBC News - image credit)

The federal government is putting up money for rail line improvements to keep Saskatchewan products on track.

Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra was in Regina Thursday to announce $18 million for four projects through the National Trade Corridors Fund.

The projects aim to address inflation, supply chain issues in Saskatchewan and overall improvements to rail line infrastructure.

"To keep our supply chains moving, to keep trade with our partners competitive, and to relieve pressure that is causing inflation, we have to make sure our transportation infrastructure remains strong," said Alghabra.

Murad Al-Katib, president and CEO of AGT Foods, said Saskatchewan is heavily dependent on rail line infrastructure.

"We've always wrestled with transportation-related issues, especially during cold Canadian winters and with high volumes in peak periods, such as the harvest that will just be upon us in another month," said Al-Katib.

He said global uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic has "dramatically impacted" global trade flow.

Four projects to receive funding

The first project will see improvements to 50 kilometres of rail tracks near Easton, about 70 kilometres southeast of Kindersley.

Easton will also get two new grain handling and storage facilities, allowing for more capacity and to ease bottlenecks at other grain collection points.

Secondly, more than 3,600 metres of new track will be built at the local free interchange yard near Assiniboia, located 110 kilometres southwest of Moose Jaw.

"With the addition of this new track, traffic capacity will increase by more than 50 per cent, helping improve the flow of the area's freight system," said Alghabra.

The third project aims to increase rail efficiency by building more than 3,600 metres of rail lines in southern Sask.

Finally, the funding will support the preliminary design for the relocation of the two railroad crossings along the Ring Road in Regina.

CBC
CBC

The federal government will offset 50 per cent of the city's costs, up to $1 million, of the preliminary design of the Ring Road rail crossing relocation.

The city has begun plans to relocate the Ring Road tracks, but Deputy Mayor Lori Bresciani said the federal funding will be a welcome boost to the project.

"The $1 million from this fund will help us move this forward," said Bresciani.

Al-Katib is optimistic that the funding will help get Saskatchewan products to market.

"Fortunately for our citizens in this province, we have what the world demands right now, and that is food, fertilizer, renewable fuels and fibre," said Al-Katib.

He said the investment will accelerate the timeline of these projects by three or four years.

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