Federal Government Delivers Support for Improvements to Queenston Plaza at Queenston-Lewiston Bridge Crossing



    NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, June 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada
and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission are pleased to announce funding for
the second phase of the redevelopment of the Queenston Plaza at the
Queenston-Lewiston border crossing.
    Funding for several improvements to the bridge complex and facilities was
announced today by the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Member of Parliament for
Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on behalf
of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities, and Ms. Janice Thomson, chair of the Niagara Falls Bridge
Commission (NFBC). Contributions to this cost-sharing initiative include up to
$62 million from the Government of Canada and $12.9 million from the NFBC.
    Phase One of the redevelopment commenced in March 2007 and entailed the
construction of new toll, parking and commercial inspection facilities. Phase
Two includes the construction of a commercial vehicle secondary inspection
warehouse, additional passenger primary inspection lanes, a new central
building for the Canada Border Services Agency, a new animal inspection
facility and the installation of a wall to separate traffic bound for Canada
and for the United States.
    "Since 2006, our government has taken swift action to improve our border
crossings and gateways to enhance the flow of vehicles, people and goods
between our country and the rest of the world," said Minister Nicholson.
"Today I am proud to announce funding for the Queenston-Lewiston bridge that
will relieve traffic congestion, and make the flow of goods and passengers
across the border more efficient and secure."
    "The Queenston Plaza initiative is a critical component of the rebuilding
of the Queenston-Lewiston border crossing, the most significant project that
the Bridge Commission has undertaken in recent history," said Ms. Thomson. "We
believe that the complete rebuilding of the Queenston Plaza complex is of
vital importance to the binational trade relationship between Canada and the
U.S., and to the expansion of trade in the future."
    She added, "We are pleased that the Government of Canada shares our
commitment to building infrastructure that supports efficient movement of
commercial and passenger traffic at the border. Today's announcement continues
the successful partnership between our agencies and reflects the
responsiveness of the government to the critical need for substantial
improvements in infrastructure."
    The Queenston-Lewiston bridge is the fourth-busiest Canada-United States
commercial and land border crossing. In 2007, bridge traffic accounted for
approximately 920,000 two-way commercial vehicle crossings, or approximately
2,500 commercial vehicles per day, representing Canada's fourth-busiest
commercial border crossing. Improving the existing plaza will allow the NFBC
to take advantage of additional capacity provided by the recently constructed
fifth bridge lane.
    This project is funded under the $33-billion Building Canada plan through
the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund. Building Canada, which will support a
stronger, safer and better country, was established to provide long-term,
stable and predictable funding to help meet infrastructure needs across
Canada.
    The $2.1-billion Gateways and Border Crossings Fund works to improve the
flow of goods and people between Canada and the rest of the world and is a key
element of this government's Building Canada infrastructure plan.
    Federal financial support for the expansion of the Queenston Plaza is
conditional on the initiative meeting all applicable federal eligibility
requirements under the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund, a federal due
diligence review of the project and meeting all other federal requirements,
such as an environmental assessment required under the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Act and the signing of a contribution agreement for the project.

    For more information on the Building Canada infrastructure plan, visit
www.buildingcanada.gc.ca.

    A backgrounder with further information about the Queenston Plaza
Redevelopment project and the Queenston-Lewiston bridge crossing is attached.

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

                          QUEENSTON-LEWISTON BRIDGE
                          -------------------------

    The Queenston-Lewiston Bridge is the fourth-busiest Canada-U.S. commercial
land border crossing, and it is a key component of the Ontario-Quebec
Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor. In 2007, bridge traffic accounted for
approximately 920,000 two-way commercial vehicle crossings, or approximately
2,500 commercial vehicles per day.
    A $130-million, multi-phase project to redevelop and expand the Queenston
Plaza on the Canadian side of the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge is currently
underway. Phase One, totalling $45 million, is nearing completion, and is
being funded by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC). It consists of
constructing a new elevated parking structure, a toll complex, commercial
primary customs processing, a retaining/security wall to extend the usable
plaza footprint and a new maintenance storage facility.
    Phase Two improvements to the Queenston Plaza will consist of additional
passenger primary inspection lanes, commercial warehouse inspection facilities
and commercial toll booths that will allow for more efficient processing of
vehicles. Improved efficiency will reduce traffic congestion at this key
border crossing and will help reduce air pollution emitted from idling
vehicles. Additional features, such as a wall to separate Canada-bound and
U.S.-bound traffic, will result in improved security. Phase Two improvements
also include a new central building for the Canada Border Services Agency
(CBSA). This will provide additional space and improved facilities for CBSA
personnel to perform their duties, which will ultimately increase their
ability to process commercial and passenger traffic in a timely manner.
    Federal financial support for the expansion of the Queenston Plaza is
conditional on the initiative meeting all applicable federal eligibility
requirements under the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund, a federal due
diligence review of the project and meeting all other federal requirements,
such as an environmental assessment required under the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Act and the signing of a contribution agreement for the project.
    The $2.1-billion Gateways and Border Crossings Fund is a merit-based
program that was established to help improve the flow of goods and people
between Canada and the rest of the world. This fund provides support for
transportation infrastructure, and other related initiatives, to develop and
exploit Canada's strategic gateways, trade corridors and border crossings. The
focus of the program is on nationally significant projects supporting
international trade, and efficient and integrated supply chains.
    Investments from the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund are guided by the
National Policy Framework for Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors. The
National Policy Framework provides focus and direction for strategies that
foster the development and exploitation of transportation systems that are key
to Canada's most important opportunities in international trade.
    The Gateways and Border Crossings Fund is part of the Government of
Canada's $33-billion Building Canada plan that will help support a stronger
Canadian economy by investing in infrastructure that contributes to increased
trade, efficient movement of goods and people, and economic growth.

                                                                  June 2008
    




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/e-news and keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada;
This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons
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