Canada's New Government and Province of B.C. Support Rehabilitation of the Simon Fraser Bridge



    PRINCE GEORGE, BC, Oct. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's New Government and the
Province of British Columbia will contribute to the twinning of the Simon
Fraser Bridge in Prince George, British Columbia. This project will alleviate
traffic congestion and enhance the efficient delivery of goods between the
Port of Prince Rupert container facility and the soon-to-be-constructed Prince
George Inland Container Terminal. The transport of goods via the Highway 97
and 16 corridors will be the primary means of delivering forestry product
destined for trade with Asian markets to the Prince George terminal being
built by Canadian National Railway.
    Canada's New Government will contribute up to $18 million for the
project. The funding is part of the estimated total project cost of
$42 million and comes from a $44-million federal commitment to fund
transportation infrastructure projects through the Mountain Pine Beetle
Program under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI).
    The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, and Richard M.
Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, made the announcement
today.
    "Canada's New Government is responding to community needs in Prince
George by working with the Province and our industry partners to combat the
negative impact of the beetle," said Minister Lunn. "We are taking concrete
action to improve the quality of life for area residents, enhance safety and
maximize the efficiency of these important trade routes."
    "The interior of British Columbia is growing at a rapid rate and our
infrastructure needs to grow with it," said Mr. Harris. "That's why I am so
proud of Canada's New Government for the leadership it has shown in supporting
this project. This is a great day for Prince George and a great day for
Northern British Columbia."
    "Prince George is among several communities that have been affected by
Mountain Pine Beetle infestation, which has caused economic and environmental
consequences across the province," said the Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "This project
demonstrates that our government is providing support to affected communities
by creating jobs and stimulating economic development."
    "The twinning of the Simon Fraser Bridge is an important part of our
Cariboo Connector strategy," said Prince George-Mount Robson MLA and Deputy
Premier Shirley Bond. "I would like to thank the federal government for their
partnership; together we can make a more significant difference for our
constituents."
    "The timing of this announcement is critical as it should allow the
builders to get the pilings into the ground this season," said Prince
George-Omineca MLA John Rustad. "I'd like to thank the federal government for
delivering this funding and partnering with us on this important project."
    "I'm very pleased that the federal government has come forward with this
funding to twin the Simon Fraser," said Prince George North MLA Pat Bell.
"This is just one part of our government's Asia Pacific Gateway strategy to
help move goods to international markets more quickly."
    The Government of Canada is committing $200 million to deliver the
Mountain Pine Beetle Program, a comprehensive response to the mountain pine
beetle infestation. Earlier this year the government announced almost
$25 million to slow the spread of the beetle into Alberta and protect
communities along the eastern B.C. border.
    Another $39.6 million was announced in June to support the efforts of
British Columbia to combat the spread of the beetle, protect communities and
forest resources in affected areas and support long-term economic stability in
forest-dependent communities.
    The APGCI is a national initiative that will contribute to Canada's
economic competitiveness, while also benefiting communities through which
increasing volumes of trade must move. In its first eight months, APGCI
projects valued at $2.2 billion were announced across all four western
provinces, including a federal contribution of almost $800 million.

    For more information about Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor
Initiative, please visit www.apgci.gc.ca. A backgrounder with further
information is attached.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

            ASIA-PACIFIC GATEWAY AND CORRIDOR INITIATIVE PROJECTS
                     FUNDED UNDER THE FEDERAL RESPONSE TO
                     THE MOUNTAIN PINE BEETLE INFESTATION
                     ------------------------------------

    The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor is a network of transportation
infrastructure including B.C.'s Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert ports, their
principal road and rail connections stretching across Western Canada and south
to the United States, key border crossings, and major Canadian airports. The
network serves all of Canada, and the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor
Initiative (APGCI) aims to take advantage of Canada's strategic location, at
the crossroads between the North American marketplace and the booming
economies of Asia.
    Prime Minister Harper launched the APGCI on October 11, 2006 and Canada's
New Government has committed an investment of more than $1 billion to this
national initiative. The APGCI brings infrastructure, policy, governance and
operational issues together into one integrated, multi-modal, public-private
strategy.
    Through the Federal Response to the Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation, an
investment of $44 million is being made towards APGCI-related surface
transportation projects with the goal of enhancing the economic base of
impacted communities through economic development and infrastructure projects
aimed at encouraging the long-term stability and diversification of economic
activity in these communities.
    In an era of rapidly moving and integrated global supply chains, policies
and investments must consider entire transportation systems-systems that
connect, for example, Asia with North America's economic heartland.
    The Government of Canada's contributions to APGCI projects will improve
the transportation system by:

    - increasing transportation capacity;
    - reducing congestion at key locations for Asia-Pacific trade;
    - improving connections between modes; and
    - enhancing its efficiency, safety and security.

    The federal contribution to this project is conditional on the Province of
B.C. providing agreed upon funding and meeting all applicable federal and
provincial requirements, including environmental assessments, regulatory
approvals, completion of due diligence, contribution agreements and final
project approvals.
    The Government of Canada's investments will continue to promote increased
investments by the private sector and other public sector partners to ensure
efficient and seamless connections between the various modes of transportation
and improve traffic flows for international cargo.

                                                                October 2007
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Transport Canada is
online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at
www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport
Canada; This news release may be made available in alternative formats for
persons with visual disabilities


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