Canada's new Government and province of British Columbia identify Highway 97 improvements for priority funding



    SUMMERLAND, BC, Sept. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Stockwell Day,
Minister of Public Safety, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Rick
Thorpe, British Columbia Minister of Small Business and Revenue and Minister
Responsible for Regulatory Reform, on behalf of the Honourable Kevin Falcon,
Minister of Transportation, today announced their respective governments have
identified improvements to Highway 97 in the Okanagan Valley as a priority
under Building Canada, the Government of Canada's new long-term infrastructure
plan.
    "Canada's New Government is committed to improving transportation safety.
This un-twinned section of highway has long been identified as a high
collision area, as shown by last week's logging truck mishap. This investment
will significantly improve the safety of Highway 97," said Minister Day. "As
part of Building Canada, we are investing in infrastructure priorities to
increase community safety, help our growing economy, and protect our
environment."
    "As the MLA for Okanagan Westside, I have been hearing about and working
for years on the need to four lane this part of Highway 97," said Rick Thorpe.
"This partnership with the federal government shows what can be accomplished
by working together. I'd like to personally thank Stockwell Day and his
government's commitment to the Okanagan and British Columbia."
    This initiative involves upgrading a 7 kilometre section of Highway 97
between Bentley Road and Okanagan Lake Park to four lanes. The upgrade is
expected to increase traffic safety and reduce congestion. This $54 million
upgrade should be completed and ready for motorists in 2009. Federal financial
support is conditional on the initiative meeting all applicable federal
eligibility requirements under Building Canada and successful negotiations
with the province of British Columbia of necessary agreements.
    Through its unprecedented $33-billion Building Canada infrastructure
plan, the Government of Canada will provide long-term, stable and predictable
funding to help meet infrastructure needs across Canada. Building Canada will
support a stronger, safer and better country. Over the last several months,
the Government of Canada has met with provinces, territories and the municipal
sector to discuss Building Canada with a view to signing agreements and
beginning to fund initiatives under the plan.




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, (613) 991-0700;
Infrastructure Canada, (613) 948-1148; Rob Duffus, Public Affairs Bureau,
Ministry of Transportation, Province of BC, (250) 387-7787


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