The piece titled "Highway to Hell? Canamex, Loop 202, and the Tar Sands" is a bit long and overwhelming. Here are some of the basics that seem important at this point. For further information, please view the entire article.
CANAMEX trade corridor is real. Perhaps lacking funding, CANAMEX is real as an idea, as policy, and has form. You can find many references to CANAMEX by local and federal government, and private pro-CANAMEX organizations. It is meant to facilitate international trade set forth by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico (hence its name) and currently utilizes existing roadways and rail. It is not efficient for this purpose, so parts of the route need to be brought up to the standards for easy-flowing freight traffic. Often CANAMEX will be discussed vaguely as a trade corridor, perhaps because many people don't like the idea of a NAFTA "Super-Highway". You can see in yellow in the the map below, the route of the CANAMEX Corridor (and beyond). Edit: see the more recent post, The Status of CANAMEX.
CANAMEX might not be able to happen without Public-Private Partnerships. Public-private partnerships (P3) are business arrangements (or organizations seeking such arrangements) between government officials (public) and private entities such as corporations. These are usually meant to use private funds to construct infrastructure (such as transportation routes), which would supposedly still be owned by the government with its policies, but would often be operated by the company (for profit of course). Some would call this privatization- it is pretty close anyway. This has been happening in the U.S. and several other countries, with increased popularity (among them). The P3s can be traced back to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) (a secretive extension of NAFTA from 2005-2009) in the case of CANAMEX, due to connections between conversations about P3s and current promotion of CANAMEX. The recently-passed MAP-21 (which is not a map, but stands for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) discusses and facilitates the use of P3s for local governments to move forward on trade infrastructure. Various private and P3 organizations in Arizona are promoting CANAMEX, even if not in name.
Need to Know P3s and others. Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) is said to be the god-father of CANAMEX by Jim Kolbe, the CANAMEX expert member of AMC. AMC consists of the AZ Governor, Jan Brewer, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) director John Halikowski, private interests, and others. Several members are part of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) who makes decisions on freeways (in addition to ADOT), the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) (which seems to be a P3), Arizona International Development Authority (AIDA), and the newly formed Arizona-based Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (TTCA). The TTCA is said to be "heavily private sector," made up of AMC, ACA, and government folks (ADOT), along with various other private interests (corporations and such). Several people involved with all this are part of the I-11 Coalition, working to construct a more efficient route for freight traffic between Las Vegas and Phoenix, an important leg of the CANAMEX corridor. AIDA was up until recently not functioning, but will be able to make contracts regarding infrastructure close to the border. It appears that the P3 organizations' main goal is furthering the CANAMEX Corridor to benefit corporations, also by promoting P3 business arrangements. For example, there is a possibility that the I-11 will be a tollway. You should also know about the North American Center for Trans-border Studies (NACTS) at Arizona State University. They have done research and promotion around CANAMEX and the Sun Corridor, partnered with AMC and others, and has links to SPP.