Canada's New Government and Province of B.C. to support highway improvements near Vanderhoof



    VANDERHOOF, BC, Oct. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's New Government and the
Province of British Columbia will contribute up to $1.05 million for highway
improvements near Vanderhoof, British Columbia. The improvements include a
2-km auxiliary passing lane, and intersection improvements on Highway 16,
approximately 68 km east of Vanderhoof. Highway 16 is the only direct link of
the National Highway System to the Asia-Pacific Region through the Port of
Prince Rupert and is also the primary east/west route through Northern B.C. It
links communities to Prince George and lies in the heart of pine
beetle-impacted forests.
    Canada's New Government and the Province of British Columbia will
contribute up to $1.05 million for the project. The contribution is part of
the estimated total project cost of $3.1 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).
    Richard M. Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, made
the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of
Natural Resources.
    "Canada's New Government is responding to the needs of the community of
Vanherhoof by working with the province and our industry partners to combat
the negative impact of the beetle," said Mr. Harris. "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."
    "Vanderhoof 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."
    "Ensuring the highway between Vanderhoof and Prince George received
upgrades has been a top priority for me over the past two years," said Prince
George-Omineca Member of the Legislative Assembly John Rustad. "I'm very
pleased to see the federal government providing support for a project our
government believes is important."
    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.

    
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                                 Backgrounder
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            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 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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