B.C. Premier Christy Clark released details of $25 billion public and private sector plan to expand trade with Asia by improving the province's transportation network.

Clark said that the spending is needed to increase trucking capacity on highways, rail capacity along existing rail corridors, air cargo movement, and both bulk and container terminal capacity at marine ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take advantage of the fastest growing economy in history," Premier Clark said in a press release.

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Premier Christy Clark announces $25 billion is to be spent over the next eight years on road, rail and port expansions in B.C. (Mike Clarke/CBC)

"Asia is right at our doorstep — our ports are closer than anywhere else in North America. Our government is making sure we can get our goods to  market as efficiently and quickly as possible and this strategy is a huge part of that plan."

But the largest chunk of spending is targeted to the natural gas industry, with $18 billion planned to go towards private sector pipeline and plant investment.

Clark said that the new investment would create at least 17,000 additional jobs by 2020, and would serve the export markets' demand for coal, forest products, potash, grain, and minerals.

Clark said that since 2005 over $22 billion had been committed by the province and its "Pacific Gateway Alliance partners" to add capacity to B.C.'s international trade corridors.

She said that projects worth $12 billion have been completed, and $10 billion's worth of projects are still underway — including Highway 1 improvements between Kamloops and Alberta, Highway 1 and Port Mann Bridge improvements in the Lower Mainland, and the South Fraser Perimeter Road.

Key spending planned:

Province — $850 million

  • $700 million on highways to 2017
  • Up to $100 million in the Prince Rupert Road Rail Utility Corridor ($15 million already committed)
  • $50 million commitment (announced Fall 2011) to Deltaport terminal projects

Private — ~$23 billion

  • $18 billion in private sector pipeline and plant investment to support the development of the liquefied natural gas sector, consistent with the BC Liquefied Natural Gas Strategy.
  • $3.75 billion to increase container terminal capacity at B.C. ports
  • $700 million to develop additional potash terminal capacity
  • $300 million to $1.1 billion to expand coal terminal capacity in Vancouver and Prince Rupert
  • Up to $60 million to expand metal and mineral terminal capacity in Northwest B.C. and Vancouver.

Other

  • $2.8 billion for rail, by CN and Canadian Pacific

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated that the province of B.C. would be committing $3.8 billion to increase container terminal capacity at B.C. ports and $300 million to the Prince Rupert Road Rail Utility Corridor. The province is, in fact, contributing $50 million to increase capacity at B.C. ports, and up to $100 million to the Prince Rupert rail utility corridor; with the remaining funds in the previously reported totals coming from private sector investment.
    Oct 05, 2013 8:36 PM PT