Over $84 million in funding was announced for a pair of New Brunswick projects aimed at bolstering the supply chain, with half that cash coming from the federal government.
Canada’s transport minister, Omar Alghabra, stood flanked by provincial and municipal government as well as industry representatives to make the announcement Wednesday.
“This is about nation-building,” Alghabra said.
“This project is about Saint John, this project is about New Brunswick, but this project is about Canada and all Canadians.”
There are two projects, actually, that stand to benefit from the funding.
The feds will chip in $21.16 million for upgrades to two New Brunswick Southern Railway terminals and another $21 million for Port Saint John’s continued expansion of its west side terminal.
The funding for the rail terminals will be matched dollar for dollar from N.B. Southern Rail’s parent company J.D. Irving Ltd.
Co-CEO James D. Irving says the investment will allow for the laying of heavier-gauge track, which can withstand higher speeds and heavier loads.
“It’s all about efficiency,” said Irving.
The federal government’s contribution to Port Saint John’s project is met with a $16.8 million contribution from New Brunswick’s provincial government and $4.2 million from the port authority itself.
It will see the capacity of the port’s west side terminal more than double over the next six years.
With that expansion comes some 800 new jobs, says Arlene Dunn, the province’s minister of economic development and small business.
“These jobs are going to be great opportunities for women, for newcomers for persons of colour, for persons with disabilities,” said Dunn.
“This is a major opportunity.”
The work funded by Wednesday’s announcement is expected to finish in 2029.