Even after Panama's canal expansion is complete, Nicaragua's would be bigger.
Today, Nicaragua’s parliament is expected to approve proposals by a Chinese consortium to build a canal across the country to rival that of Panama. (Update: The plan has been approved.) The $40 billion project could double Nicaragua’s GDP and create 40,000 construction jobs over an 11-year construction period.
The idea of building a canal in Nicaragua is nothing new. For most of the 19th century, experts considered a Nicaraguan canal more feasible than one through Panama or another proposed route through Mexico. US tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt led a project to carry goods across Nicaragua by stagecoach and steamship as a prelude to building a canal, for which he even won a concession. Thirty years later, US president Ulysses S. Grant endorsed the Nicaraguan route as the cheapest and easiest, pegging the cost (p.110-111) at $52,577,718.00—though he admitted that, with probable delays, it could stretch to $100 million. A Nicaraguan canal would be more cost-effective than a Panama one, he argued, where builders would encounter tougher terrain.
For the rest of the story: http://qz.com/93707/nicaragua-still-thinks-it-can-build-a-better-canal-than-panama-after-200-years-of-trying/