Federal Funding for E&N Rail Trail Connects West Shore and Downtown Victoria

    VICTORIA, Aug. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - A new trail for cyclists and pedestrians
that links the growing West Shore with downtown Victoria will be built with
$11.3 million in federal funding through the Gas Tax Fund. The Honourable Gary
Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence
Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, announced the
funding at a celebration today.
    Joined by Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Community Services, UBCM 1st
Vice President Susan Gimse and Capital Regional District (CRD) Chair Denise
Blackwell, Minister Lunn praised the commitment shown by the CRD for creating
new transportation options in the Capital region.
    "This important investment creates environmentally sustainable
infrastructure that will encourage residents to get out of their cars and onto
their bicycles to enjoy these beautiful trails," said Minister Lunn. "This
project supports the commitment by Canada's New Government to provide
Canadians with cleaner air and an improved quality of life."
    The trail will be built alongside the existing E&N rail line and will be
17 km in length, running from the Johnson St. Bridge to Humpback Road in
Langford. It is estimated there could be 200,000 new cycling and walking trips
in the first year. When fully operational, the trail will contribute to the
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
    "With projects like the E&N Trail, people can get out of their cars and
make healthier choices by walking or cycling around their communities," said
Chong. "This partnership is another way we are creating compact,
pedestrian-friendly communities, supporting our government's goal of reducing
greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia by 33 per cent by 2020."
    The plan for E&N Rail Trail will include new connections to the Galloping
Goose Regional Trail and the Trans Canada Trail. It will also include several
new overpasses that will eliminate at-grade rail crossings and will improve
user safety and enjoyment.
    Canada's New Government is providing $635.6 million to British Columbia
from 2005 to 2010 through the Gas Tax Agreement. As part of its $33 billion
"Building Canada" plan, the Government of Canada extended the Gas Tax Fund by
an additional $2 billion per year nationally, from 2010 to 2014. Gas Tax
funding is available to local governments for environmentally sustainable
infrastructure projects that lead to the reduction of greenhouse gas, to
cleaner air or to cleaner water. The Gas Tax Agreement is administered in
British Columbia by the Union of BC Municipalities.
    "Today's announcement is a demonstration of the kind of results that
British Columbians can expect from the Canada-BC-UBCM Gas Tax Agreement," said
UBCM 1st Vice President Gimse. "The E&N Rail Trail provides a new
transportation option for commuters into the downtown core."
    The new trail is a critical component of the CRD's Regional Growth
Strategy, the CRD Parks and Trails Master Plan, TravelChoices, and the Capital
Regional Community Energy Plan.
    "The E&N Trail will be an environmental, recreational and economic boon
to our region," said CRD Chair Blackwell.
    The detailed design for the trail is expected to be completed in April
2008, and the trail is expected to be fully operational by 2010.

    For images of the trail design, please visit www.crd.bc.ca

    Funding for the E&N Trail comes from the Regionally Significant Project
and General Strategic Priorities Funds of the Canada - BC - UBCM Gas Tax
Agreement. For further information on the Gas Tax Agreement in BC, go to
www.civicnet.bc.ca or www.infrastructure.gc.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, (613) 991-0700;
Infrastructure Canada, (613) 948-1148; Marc Black, Communications Manager,
Ministry of Community Services, (250) 356-6334; Paul Taylor, Relationships and
Communications Advisor, Union of BC Municipalities, (250) 356-2938; Kelly
Daniels, Chief Administrative Officer, Capital Regional District, (250)

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