Government of Canada and province of B.C. support highway upgrading



    KAMLOOPS, BC, Nov. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada and the
Province of British Columbia will contribute to the upgrading of 4.2 km of
highway to four lanes at the Wright Station Curves, between 100 Mile House and
Williams Lake on Highway 97, the major north/south artery in B.C. This project
is consistent with British Columbia's long-term vision of the four-lane
Cariboo Connector between Cache Creek and Prince George. The Cariboo Connector
supports growth in truck traffic related to the harvesting of wood affected by
the pine beetle, and the development of the Port of Prince Rupert.
    The Government of Canada will contribute up to $4.2 million for the
project. The funding is part of the estimated total project cost of
$11.2 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.
    Betty Hinton, Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, British
Columbia, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable David
Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway
and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics.
    "Our government is responding to community needs in and around 100 Mile
House and Williams Lake, by working with the Province and our industry
partners to combat the negative impact of the beetle," said Ms. Hinton. "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."
    "This joint project is an example of how the Government of Canada is
addressing the needs of communities affected by the Mountain Pine Beetle
infestation," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources.
"Improved surface transportation will encourage the long-term economic
stability and diversification of economic activities in these communities."
    "100 Mile House and Williams Lake are 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."
    "This project will improve the safety of one of the most collision-prone
sections of the highway," said British Columbia Transportation Minister Kevin
Falcon. "It's part of our Cariboo Connector four-laning program to support
economic growth and improve competitiveness by moving goods and people more
safely and efficiently."
    "This will improve the safety of the road, it's a bad spot and we've lost
some good citizens there. It's a long time coming so we're grateful that it is
being addressed," said Donna Barnett, Mayor of 100 Mile House.
    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 Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative 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, Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative 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 the
federal 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.

                                                           November 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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