It ultimately comes down to recognizing that a port city is a lucky city and to getting that message out there for exactly the reasons you've talked about. But that is a difficult message to convey to people who have to deal with truck movement and light and dust, all of which are things that port authorities work very hard to mitigate.
That said, it's then also necessary to support the activities of the ports, the port authorities themselves, in the work that they do.
The nature of ports has changed over time and the port authorities, again, by virtue of being shared governance organizations that are related to the federal government, have been able to benefit from a more trusting relationship with their supply chain partners to broker the kinds of dialogue and information sharing that I mentioned. This has translated into the efficiencies and discussions of trade corridors as a system. To be able to continue to support that would be extremely important, that notion we're talking about of supply chains and systems that are in fact growing, that span the country now. That's one important part.
The second part is to allow the port authorities to expand into that role more fully. One way of doing that, which we've talked about quite a bit, is allowing us to become even more competitive through increased financial flexibility.
We have challenges. When we were created the government was risk- averse and we were given extremely low borrowing limits. Borrowing on the open market is part of the patchwork quilt of financing that I mentioned earlier. I keep saying that the current borrowing limits are the equivalent of your going to your bank and asking for a mortgage and the bank coming back and saying, great, lucky you, you've been pre-approved for a mortgage of $150,000, and you say, thanks, but I'm trying to buy in Vancouver.
The limits are artificially low. The port authorities have to go on an individual project-by-project basis to plead their case before three government departments. It takes years to actually get that moved. That starts to become a drag on the speed with which a port authority can proceed with an infrastructure project.
So there are a number of financial flexibilities that we need to be able to have to respond in a more competitive market. Amendments to letters patent is another issue. We acquire land. We sell land. It happens in commercial timelines on the commercial market, but again, there's the same issue: it takes upwards of two years to amend our letters patent to recognize the acquisition of land. In the meantime, the port is either trying to pay extra to hold on to that land, or in the case of one port authority, it was given 50 acres from the municipality for free, but it cost them $55,000 in legal fees just to process the change.
These kinds of flexibilities would go a long way towards keeping the ports moving in commercial real time. Then again, the question of infrastructure funding is extremely important.