A comprehensive study into the transportation infrastructure of the five easternmost Canadian provinces and four northeastern American states has been launched to provide critical economic information for government and business in those regions.

It will also be a key analysis into the Atlantica concept – a transportation/business corridor that extends from the Port of Halifax through New Brunswick and Maine to Ontario, Quebec and New England markets.

“This is a major forward step for AIMS’ Atlantica concept,” says Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies in a news release Thursday. Mr. Crowley could not be reached for comment.

“At the end of the process we will have a study of the existing infrastructure and the needs of the international northeast economic region.

But more, we will have the precedent of the governments of four U.S. states, five Canadian provinces and the two national governments working together.”

The study is called Northeast CanAm Connections: Integrating the Economy and Transportation, a change from its original name of the Northeast Border Corridor Transportation and Economic Development Study.

The Maine Department of Transportation will serve as the lead agency. Funding comes from the (U.S.) National Corridor Planning and Development Program and Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program.

The deadline for a request for proposals for the year-long study is Dec. 16.

The contract will likely be awarded this upcoming February with a start date expected sometime in March, 2006.

The study will assess transportation and economic conditions across a key geographic region for all players in the study, specifically the potential for development of Atlantica as a gateway to the economic core of North America.

The study will examine all modes of transportation links within the region.

It will also examine connections to other regions, extending from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Seaboard.