Governments of Canada and British Columbia announce they will fund highway projects in B.C.



    KELOWNA, BC, July 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada and the
Province of British Columbia will jointly fund up to $231 million worth of
National Highway System improvements in the province, under the Building
Canada Plan. A number of specific highway improvements will be announced in
the coming weeks, demonstrating both governments' commitment to developing
world-class infrastructure.
    The first project to receive funding involves constructing a 9-kilometre
four lane highway west of the existing 2-lane section of Highway 97 between
Winfield and Oyama, British Columbia. The federal government will provide up
to $33.6 million through the Building Canada Fund, and the Province will
contribute $44.3 million toward the total $77.9 million cost. Work is
scheduled to be completed by 2012.
    Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia, along with the Honourable
Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence
Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, with the
Honourable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure of
British Columbia, Ron Cannan, MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, and Kelowna-Lake
Country MLA Al Horning, made the announcement today.
    "This investment is an outstanding example of our ongoing partnership
with the federal government, and our continued commitment to deliver needed
road projects throughout the province," said Premier Campbell. "Working with
the federal government, we're enhancing B.C.'s highway system to improve
safety, enhance the flow of goods and people, and tap into new opportunities
in trade and tourism."
    "This announcement shows that the Government of Canada and the Province
of British Columbia are effectively working together to help move people and
goods in British Columbia," said Minister Day. "This funding will not only
help promote economic development in this province but will contribute to
saving lives and improve the efficiency of the highway system in British
Columbia and the National Highway System as a whole."
    "These investments position the Government of Canada as a leader in
expanding existing infrastructure capacity, reducing congestion, enhancing the
safety of Canada's transportation system and improving the flow of people and
goods across the country," said Minister Cannon. "These priority projects
reflect our government's commitment to infrastructure investments that foster
a stronger economy and a cleaner environment."
    "The Winfield-Oyama project is terrific news for this growing region,"
said Minister Falcon. "The road upgrades will improve safety, stimulate
further growth in our economy, and help to boost our competitiveness by moving
people and goods more efficiently."
    "Highway 97 has long been identified as a priority for upgrades to
increase safety. Today's investment, along with other federal investments
along Highway 97 in the Okanagan Valley, will result in improved safety for
motorists," said MP Cannan. "As part of Building Canada, we are investing in
infrastructure priorities to increase community safety, help our growing
economy, and protect our environment."
    "Four-laning this stretch of highway will greatly improve safety and the
flow of traffic along this important corridor," said MLA Horning. "As well as
improving the flow of commercial traffic, this upgrade will benefit tourism,
and spur new economic activity for our region."
    Federal funding for these investments comes from the $33-billion Building
Canada plan. Through this unprecedented plan, the federal government 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.
    On November 6, 2007, the Government of Canada and the Province of British
Columbia signed an Infrastructure Framework Agreement under Building Canada
worth $2.2 billion for infrastructure initiatives from 2007 to 2014. The two
governments also launched on July 7, 2008, a call for infrastructure projects
in smaller communities to be funded under this larger plan.
    For more information on the Building Canada plan, please visit
www.buildingcanada.gc.ca.

    A backgrounder with further information is attached.


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

       FUNDING FOR HIGHWAY PROJECTS ON THE CORE NATIONAL HIGHWAY SYSTEM
       ----------------------------------------------------------------
                             IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
                             -------------------
    

    The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of the National
Highway System in British Columbia, and its ability to handle the
ever-increasing volumes of tourism and trade traffic. Along with the Province,
Canada will fund improvements to ensure that the condition of the highway
system remains consistent with national transportation standards for safety,
as well as enhance the efficiency of operations.
    These highway improvements are considered essential to increase the
safety of the road network in British Columbia and demonstrate the Government
of Canada's commitment to developing world-class infrastructure for Canada and
Canadians. The upgrades will reduce bottlenecks, and improve the flow of
people and goods, providing benefits both regionally and nationally.
    Federal funding for these improvements will come from the Building Canada
Fund and the Base Funding Programs under the $33-billion Building Canada plan.
    The Building Canada Fund advances national priorities that are important
to all Canadians: a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and better
communities, while addressing local and regional infrastructure needs. The
national priority funding categories for the Building Canada Fund are: Core
National Highway System, drinking water, wastewater, public transit, and green
energy.
    Other highway improvements will be supported through the Building Canada
plan's Base Fund component, which provides $25 million per year to British
Columbia through to 2014.
    On November 6, 2007, the Government of Canada and the Province of British
Columbia signed a Framework Agreement that provides approximately $2.2 billion
to the province through the federal government's Building Canada plan. This
funding will be provided between 2007 and 2014, through various funds, such as
the Gas Tax Fund, the Provincial/Territorial Base Funding and the Building
Canada Fund.

    
                                                                    July 2008
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Bridgitte Anderson, Press Secretary, Office of the Premier, (604) 307-7177;
Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Dave Crebo,
Communications Director, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, (250)
387-7787; 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 with visual disabilities.


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