JEAN CHAREST NAMED RAIL RELOCATION TASK FORCE CHAIR
The Manitoba government, together with the City of Winnipeg, is taking a significant step toward possible rail line relocation outside of Winnipeg and is naming former Quebec premier Jean Charest as chair of a task force to work on this important issue, Premier Selinger and Mayor Brian Bowman announced today.
“Moving rail lines out of the city of Winnipeg is a historic opportunity to reshape our capital city for the future,” said Premier Selinger. “While work has been underway for many years, today we are taking significant concrete steps forward in efforts to reduce traffic congestion, enhance public safety, and create new opportunities for jobs and economic development.”
The Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg are pleased that Charest has agreed to take on the role of chair of the task force to undertake the work necessary on this important file. As the former premier of one of Canada’s largest provinces, and with long-standing experience in intergovernmental affairs, Charest brings strong and effective leadership to his role as chair of the task force studying the issue of rail rationalization, the premier noted. The province will invest $400,000 towards the task force’s work.
“I am very pleased Mr. Charest has agreed to lead this effort,” said Mayor Bowman. “I continue to be encouraged by the province’s renewed focus on rail rationalization and I want the City of Winnipeg to continue to be an involved partner. A key component moving forward is to study and understand the feasibility and impacts, and to ensure appropriate levels of engagement and consultation.”
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead this task force to take the next steps on relocating rail lines outside of Winnipeg,” said Charest. “Having worked with Greg Selinger at the national level, I know that he has what it takes to make this project happen. The end result will be new jobs and economic development, reduced traffic congestion and a bold new vision for Manitoba’s capital city.”
The terms of reference for the task force and a more detailed framework will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders and the chair. However, the early work of the task force 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.
“Winnipeg has a long, rich history and a prosperous future as a rail city and major transportation hub in the heart of North America,” said Diane Gray, president and CEO, CentrePort Canada Inc. “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. Jean Charest is an excellent choice to lead this task force and we are pleased to be part of this community effort.”
Premier Selinger noted that while it is recognized that rail relocation will require significant investments, there are enormous benefits for economic development and job creation.