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Winnipeg Free Press: Ditch rail, build a road

August 3, 2016 — 

An op-ed written by Barry Prentice, professor of supply chain management at the Asper School of Business, argues that now is the time to build an all-weather road to Churchill, Manitoba. The recent closure of the Port of Churchill by OmniTrax Canada has presented an opportunity to re-evaluate how people and goods are transported to Northern Manitoba.

Prentice writes:

Manitoba’s northern transportation policy can be summed up as a couple of decades of unfunded promises and funded illusions. The residents of the North have been let down by wasteful, short-sighted political strategies, rather than the embrace of economic realities.

Among the unfunded NDP promises are the creation of a road to Nunavut and the east side road network.

Millions of dollars have been spent engineering road systems that are uneconomic to build or operate. When the federal government refused to bite on these billion-dollar boondoggles, the provincial government decided to strike out alone to build 872 kilometres of gravel roads east of Lake Winnipeg. This $3-billion project would take 30 years to complete at current funding levels and would serve only half of the remote communities. A road to Nunavut would likely cost as much or more, but it exists only in the dreams of the Doer-Selinger era and their election campaign literature.




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