The governments of Canada and Manitoba today committed more than $212 million to build CentrePort Canada Way. This priority infrastructure project will be fast-tracked to support the development of CentrePort Canada, Manitoba’s 20,000-acre inland port.

Premier Gary Doer made the announcement with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at an event at the Winnipeg Airports Authority.

“I would like to thank the prime minister for his support and the business community for their vision – one that we all share and agree is important to continuing to build our province for the future,” Doer said.

“These improvements will help ensure further private sector investment in CentrePort Canada by enhancing access to the site, which is already a desirable location for warehousing, distribution and other industrial activity that depends on convenient and efficient access to transportation services including air, road and rail.”

The funding will develop CentrePort Canada Way, a four-lane divided expressway linking the inland port to the Perimeter Highway. The high-speed corridor will connect Inkster Boulevard (PR 221), the James A. Richardson International Airport and the CP Weston rail intermodal facility to the Perimeter Highway near Saskatchewan Avenue.

CentrePort Canada is a co-operative effort of the Province of Manitoba and the federal government together with the City of Winnipeg, RM of Rosser, business and labour. It builds on Manitoba’s strategic location in the heart of North America and is expected to serve as an international transportation, trade, manufacturing, distribution, warehousing and logistics centre, the premier said.

The $212.5-million expressway is being funded jointly by the provincial and federal governments, with the federal share coming from the Provincial Territorial Base Funding Agreement ($68.35 million) and the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative ($33.25 million). Manitoba will match the federal funds and contribute an additional $9.2 million for land acquisition.

CentrePort Canada is a private sector-led corporation, created by provincial legislation last fall, to develop and promote the inland port and build on Manitoba’s well-established infrastructure network of air, rail, trucking and sea routes. CentrePort Canada’s 15-member board is led by Kerry Hawkins as chair and Art Mauro as vice-chair.

“CentrePort Canada Way is critical to the development of our inland port,” Mauro said. “It will provide an efficient and unimpeded link to the Perimeter Highway for the inland port area and its major assets including the James A. Richardson International Airport and intermodal rail facilities.”

The governments of Manitoba and Canada have supported CentrePort Canada through a variety of recent joint-funding initiatives including $85 million to upgrade PTH 75, Manitoba’s key trade route to the U.S., and $48 million for upgrades to the Hudson Bay rail line and the port of Churchill.

The province also introduced legislation to allow tax increment financing to support development in the inland port area and Budget 2009 expanded the fuel tax exemption for international cargo flights to include direct and indirect flights to the U.S.