News Release - June 10, 2009
SASKATCHEWAN SHORTLINE INNOVATION LEADS NATION
The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure announced today its second series of annual infrastructure grants for shortline railways, as the Government of Saskatchewan continues to lead Canada with support for this important transportation sector.
Through this cost-sharing provincial infrastructure program with Saskatchewan shortline rail companies, the province will invest $500,000. With the province's grants and shortline rail companies' matching contributions combined, this sector will see a total infrastructure investment this year of $1 million.
"Shortlines provide shippers with another effective and competitive transportation option, support economic development in rural Saskatchewan and contribute to reducing truck traffic congestion, related greenhouse gases and road wear," Highways and Infrastructure Minister Jim Reiter said. "We also recognize the importance of shortlines because they help link Saskatchewan's export-based economy to provincial, national and worldwide markets. That's why the province has been a leader and innovator in this area."
In 2008, Saskatchewan was the first to start offering annual provincial shortline infrastructure grants. This year's recipients and their grant amounts are Great Western Railway, $217,756, Carlton Trail Railway, $75,073, Red Coat Road and Rail, $50,488, Fife Lake Railway, $42,585, Wheatland Rail, $32,488, Southern Rails Co-operative, $31,610, Thunder Rail, $25,000, along with Torch River Rail, $25,000.
In 1997, Saskatchewan was the first province to offer two other ongoing provincial shortline programs - interest-free loans and feasibility study grants.
"The ministry has done a great job of fostering this sector with nine shortline railways starting operation in just over a decade and the variety of goods they carry is steadily diversifying," Saskatchewan Shortline Railroad Association Chairman Roger Gadd said.
Saskatchewan's nine operational shortline railways cover about 1,600 kilometres of provincially regulated railways. These provincial shortlines connect to about 7,100 kilometres of national federally regulated rail lines in Saskatchewan.
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