Canada's New Government and Province of B.C. support upgrade to highway infrastructure



    SALMON ARM, BC, Oct. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's New Government and the
Province of British Columbia will contribute to the upgrade of a section of
the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH), between the communities of Sorrento and
Salmon Arm, British Columbia. The upgrade will improve the safety and
reliability of a 4.3-kilometre section of the TCH 1, from Hilltop Road to
Balmoral Road, and will connect with the recently upgraded section of the TCH
between Balmoral Road and Ford Road. The TCH is the primary highway link for
commercial goods between the Lower Mainland's container ports, the
Asia-Pacific markets and the rest of Canada.
    Canada's New Government and the Province of British Columbia will
contribute up to $8 million for the project. The contribution is part of the
estimated total project cost of $18 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).
    Colin Mayes, Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Shuswap, made the
announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural
Resources.
    "Canada's New Government is working with industry to support innovative
opportunities for economic growth and future sustainability in pine
beetle-impacted communities across B.C.," said Mr. Mayes. "This investment
will provide significant relief to road users, enhance the quality of life of
neighbouring residents, and accommodate anticipated growth in the movement of
goods associated with Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative."
    "Salmon Arm 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."
    "A safe, reliable transportation network is critical as we continue to
diversify our economy here in the Shuswap," said George Abbott, Member of the
Legislative Assembly for Shuswap. "These upgrades will improve driver safety
and help us to take advantage of the growing trade and tourism opportunities
in the B.C. Interior. I'm glad that the Government of Canada is committing to
partnering with the provincial government in making this important project a
reality."
    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 also 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 the 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; This news release
may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual
disabilities.


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