When it comes to improving port, highway and rail links in Nova Scotia, Ottawa should tighten the purse strings and promote existing facilities, a think-tank suggests.

Charles Cirtwill, acting president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, said handing out money for new Nova Scotia projects may make political sense, but there is no strong business case for it.

“The infrastructure is already in place for the Atlantic gateway. The Port of Halifax is there, it is up and running. It’s running basically at 50 per cent capacity, so it could handle some quite considerable growth,” he told CBC News.

Cirtwill’s comments come as Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Minister Peter MacKay prepares to release a study on the viability of transportation improvements in the region, including an “Atlantic gateway” to handle an expected increase in container traffic from India.

The study will reveal if there is a strong business case to spend $2 billion the federal government has earmarked for infrastructure projects.

In Nova Scotia, there are requests to twin the highway between New Glasgow and Antigonish, add a rail spur to a new terminal in the Canso Strait, dredge part of Sydney harbour, and enhance marketing for the Port of Halifax.

“I would expect that the report that comes back will show exactly what we’ve been saying, that Nova Scotia is the anchor for the gateway when it comes to Atlantic Canada and that there’s a business case for it,” said Premier Rodney MacDonald.

The ACOA-commissioned report will be released Friday afternoon.