Government of Canada and province of British Columbia identify improvements to Highway 97 near Prince George for priority funding



    PRINCE GEORGE, BC, Jan. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada and
the Province of British Columbia today announced that improvements to Highway
97 near Prince George and the relocation of the commercial vehicle inspection
station near Red Rock Road south of Prince George have been identified as a
priority for federal funding of up to a maximum of 50 per cent of eligible
project costs, to a maximum of $11.3 million under the base funding component
of Building Canada, the Government of Canada's new long-term infrastructure
plan.
    The Honourable Jay Hill, Secretary of State and Chief Government Whip and
MP for Prince George-Peace River, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, made the announcement
together with the Honourable Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Mount Robson
and Deputy Premier.
    "The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the safety and
efficiency of transportation routes. The relocation of the inspection station
will help ease congestion and pressure on Highway 97 outside of Prince George,
and will contribute to the faster and safer flow of local, tourist and trade
traffic," said Minister Hill. "As part of Building Canada, we are investing in
infrastructure priorities to increase community safety, help our growing
economy, and protect our environment."
    "Relocating the weigh scales and inspection facility is an important
project along the Cariboo corridor and part of our government's overall
commitment to revitalize B.C.'s highways, bridges, ports and airports," said
Deputy Premier Bond.
    The initiative involves expanding a 5-kilometre section of Highway 97
from two lanes to four, and relocating a commercial vehicle inspection station
near Red Rock. These improvements will increase safety and reduce congestion
on the highway, and will reduce wait times experienced by commercial vehicles
at the inspection station. The upgrade should be completed in 2009.
    "This federal/provincial cooperative agreement ensures that the
much-needed highway upgrade and relocation of the south commercial vehicle
weigh scale are carried out in a prompt and fiscally responsible fashion,"
said Prince George North MLA and Minister of Agriculture and Lands Minister
Pat Bell.
    "Today's announcement has been eagerly anticipated by the trucking
industry, our motorists who regularly frequent this portion of Highway 97 and
our Ministry of Transportation staff, who have been working on the project
details the past few years," said John Rustad, MLA for Prince George-Omineca.
    Federal financial support is conditional on the initiative meeting all
applicable federal eligibility requirements under Building Canada. Moving
forward, the Province will now have to provide its funding as announced and
formally propose the initiative for funding to the federal government under
the Building Canada Plan.
    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. Under Building Canada, the
province of British Columbia stands to receive over $2.7 billion from 2007 to
2014.
    For further information on the Building Canada plan, visit
www.buildingcanada.gc.ca




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; Tamara Little, Public Affairs Director,
Ministry of Transportation, Province of BC, (250) 387-7787


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