Statement by Hon. Lawrence Cannon, M.P., P.C. Minister of transport, infrastructure and communities at a news conference of Council of ministers responsible for transportation and highway safety



    GATINEAU, QC, April 8 /CNW Telbec/ - This meeting provides a forum for
the provinces, territories and the Government of Canada to discuss
transportation issues. In challenging economic times, our government is acting
in a prudent and responsible way. And we have planned for the future, so that
we can continue to drive the economy and ensure a stronger, safer, and better
Canada.
    Canadians want more than talk.
    They want action. They want results.
    Through this government's approach to open federalism, we are taking
action and achieving those results. Today's meeting is an example of how this
new era of partnership is working.
    We discussed how this government is working in partnership with the
provinces and territories to move away from an infrastructure deficit that has
existed in Canada for far too long, to modernize the infrastructure in the
country.
    In fact, we are currently engaged in delivering Canada's biggest
infrastructure program ever. The Building Canada Infrastructure Plan is
$33-billion worth of investments in roads, public transit, gateways, trade
corridors and border crossings. In fact, the plan provides the tools to
modernize infrastructure right across Canada.
    The plan will also ensure continuous investments in our cities and
communities, creating projects, opportunities and jobs, and resulting in
increased trade, efficient movement of goods and people, and economic growth.
    With respect to public transit, we brought investments to $1 billion per
year and in Budget 2008 we've set aside $500 million to support capital
investments - through the Public Transit Capital Trust. This will improve
public transit.
    Projects such as the Windsor-Quebec high-speed rail studies we've
launched recently with Quebec and Ontario Governments are a step in the right
direction towards a more sustainable transportation system.
    In addition to driving our economy forward, we are also working with our
provincial and territorial colleagues to improve our environment and reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by delivering clean water, green energy and cleaning
up contaminated sites. And of course, urban transit infrastructure is
important to all of us.
    The Building Canada Plan is an unprecedented, long-term investment that
will allow provinces, territories and communities to plan for the future.
    Since the Prime Minister launched the plan last November, we have signed
framework agreements with seven provinces and territories and we're making
progress on the remaining six.
    Since February, 2006 we have also made close to $4 billion in
transportation related investments.
    Adding to that competitiveness is the work we've accomplished by creating
Canada's Blue Sky initiative, which is helping to liberalize our airways and
lead to greater choices for Canadians, as well as recent amendments to the
Canada Transportation Act and proposal amendments to the Canada Marine Act.
    We have taken action in every sector, in every mode. We have fulfilled
our commitments.
    But more work remains.
    I look forward to discussing the remaining items on our agenda, which
include issues related to transportation safety and regulations, and areas of
further collaboration.
    We will also discuss the very encouraging findings of studies on the
issue of speed limiters for heavy commercial trucks.
    With such promising results, I believe that we're headed towards the
trucking industry making a significant contribution to our environmental
agenda and helping reach our greenhouse gas reduction targets.
    This Government is also moving forward with national fuel consumption
regulations for new cars and light-duty trucks beginning with the 2011 model
year. We're engaging key stakeholders, including the provinces and
territories. We've also engaged our American counterparts.
    We are taking action now to make sure that, into the future, we have the
most environmentally responsible cars and trucks on Canadian roads.
    But today I have expressed concern to my provincial colleagues regarding
the development of separate regulations to deal with greenhouse gases from
cars and light duty trucks. We need a national approach and we need national
consistency if we are to reach our greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Transportation accounts for 25 per cent of all Canada's greenhouse gas
emissions. That's why we need to take action now.
    Only by working together can we ensure that transportation in Canada will
remain sustainable, safe, secure, modern and efficient. In this new era of
open federalism, the provinces, territories and the federal government have
never been in a better position to make that happen.
    I want to thank my colleagues and everyone involved for their
cooperation.

    Thank you.

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

                        TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE
                        -----------------------------

    From its earliest days in office, this government took swift and decisive
action to modernize and improve infrastructure in the country. With Building
Canada, a seven-year, $33-billion long-term infrastructure plan, the
Government intends to build a stronger, safer and better Canada. That is the
largest investment from a federal government for infrastructure in the past
50 years, and it will result in significant progress on transportation and
transit infrastructure, as well as other types of public infrastructure.
    Building Canada also supports Canada's rural and remote communities by
providing a portion of the money to communities of fewer than 100,000 people.
This shift in population base responds to input we received during
consultations leading up to the launch of Building Canada. For example, the
federal government is investing $20 million to rehabilitate the rail line from
The Pas to Churchill, Manitoba, which is the only year-round land connection
for Northern Manitoba communities. This shortline railway also supports
activities at the Port of Churchill, including arctic re-supply.
    The Government of Canada is also cost sharing, with three Atlantic
provinces, improvements to the National Highway System. These investments
include $100 million for the resurfacing of the Trans Labrador Highway and
over $450 million for highway improvements in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
These investments will improve the efficiency of Canada's transportation
system and the safety of Canadians, as well as support trade and economic
activity.
    To strengthen Canada's competitiveness in global commerce, the federal
government launched its National Policy Framework on Strategic Gateways and
Trade Corridors. Under this framework, Transport Canada is engaged with the
provinces and other key stakeholders in the development and implementation of
gateway strategies. Under the first such strategy, the Asia-Pacific Gateway
and Corridor Initiative, almost $900 million has been announced for
investments in highways, bridges, interchanges, rail/road grade separations,
transportation technology and non-infrastructure measures, including
international marketing, that advance the efficiency and reliability of the
intermodal gateway and corridor system that supports Asia-Pacific trade and
Canada's utilization of that system. Many of these measures also improve
safety and help manage the environmental and quality-of-life impacts on
Canadian communities through which increasing volumes of international trade
traffic are moving.
    The $2.1-billion Gateways and Border Crossings Fund will support future
investments in emerging gateway strategies - the Ontario-Quebec Continental
Gateway and Trade Corridor and the Atlantic Gateway. By dedicating an initial
$400 million for the access road to the new Windsor-Detroit bridge crossing,
and by investing in the Autoroute 30 bypass south of Montreal, the Government
of Canada is already demonstrating its commitment to developing the
Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor.
    The Government of Canada is also taking decisive action to support public
transit throughout the country. Funding for transit has greatly increased
since 2006, currently reaching over $1 billion per year. Sound investments in
public transit can improve mobility and help get people out of their cars,
which reduces traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
For example, the federal government announced over $697 million for the
extension of the Spadina subway line in the Greater Toronto Area, as part of
its FLOW transit plan. The $500-million Public Transit Capital Trust announced
in Budget 2008 will support transit investments in every jurisdiction,
including $1.6 million for the territories, and will contribute to the
construction of the Evergreen rapid transit line in British Columbia.

    ----------------------------------------
    Additional examples of how the Government of Canada, along with its
provincial, territorial and municipal partners, is improving the Canadian
transportation system are described below:

    Transportation Infrastructure Investment Highlights
    ---------------------------------------------------

    British Columbia
    ----------------
    Under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, a total of $643
million has been invested in projects that will support Canada's position in
Asia-Pacific trade. Improvements have been made to bridges, such as the Pitt
River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange, highways, local roads and multi-modal
transportation investments, such as the Roberts Banks Rail Corridor rail/road
grade separations.
    Under the Public Transit Capital Trust 2008, $67.7 million will be
allocated to the Evergreen Line rapid transit project. The Evergreen Line is a
$1.4-billion, 11-kilometre rapid transit line that will link neighbourhoods in
Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam and connect with SkyTrain, West Coast
Express and TransLink buses. It is currently planned to open in 2014 and is a
key component in the $14-billion Provincial Transit Plan.
    Under the Building Canada plan, British Columbia will be provided with
more than $2.7 billion.

    Alberta
    -------

    The Government of Canada provided up to $150 million towards the eligible
costs of twinning Highway 63. The project involves constructing two additional
lanes along the existing two-lane Highway 63 from Highway 55 junction near
Grassland, Alberta, to a point north of Mariana Lake - a total length of 146
kilometres along the existing highway corridor. The roadway will be upgraded
to provincial expressway standards with safer intersections, a wide median
divider and paved shoulders to help accommodate oversize loads.
    Under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, the Government of
Canada is contributing $75 million in federal funding for the construction of
a new interchange on Highway 2 and 41st Avenue in Edmonton, including a
road/rail grade separation of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) tracks east
of Highway 2 and improvements on arterial roads in the area. This will
facilitate the relocation and improve access to the CPR intermodal freight
terminal, while alleviating congestion.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Alberta will be provided with more than
$2.2 billion.

    Saskatchewan
    ------------

    Under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, the Government of
Canada will contribute $20 million to two freeway interchange projects to be
undertaken by the City of Saskatoon. The interchanges are at Lorne Avenue and
Circle Drive and at Idylwyld Freeway and Circle Drive. The projects will
improve access to the Canadian National Railway's intermodal freight terminal
located in southwest Saskatoon, and improve the ability of Saskatchewan
shippers to participate in Asia-Pacific trade.
    In addition, as part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative,
the Government of Canada will contribute up to $27 million to a proposed
strategic infrastructure project estimated at $93 million in Regina. This
infrastructure project consists of building a new CPR intermodal facility west
of Regina and upgrading the Pinkie Road connecting to highways 1 and 11, both
national highway system routes that connect to the City of Regina road
network, which will provide direct access for international trade traffic to
this facility. The upgraded road and rail grade crossings will also result in
the environmental benefits of reduced congestion and fewer vehicle emissions.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Saskatchewan will be provided with more
than $800 million.

    Manitoba
    --------

    Demonstrating the federal government's commitment to the economic
development of the region and the province, Prime Minister Harper announced
that the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba will commit to cost
sharing $40 million to upgrade the rail line between The Pas and Churchill,
jointly with the Hudson Bay Railway Company. Additionally, the Prime Minister
announced that the federal government and the province have agreed to cost
share up to $8 million for improvements at the Port of Churchill.
    The Government also lived up to its commitment to cost share in the Red
River Floodway Expansion Project. This commitment has been fully met.
    As part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, the
Government of Canada will invest up to $21 million for the construction of an
interchange at the junction of the Trans Canada and Yellowhead highways, seven
kilometres west of the City of Portage La Prairie, and for the construction of
a road/rail grade separation on the CN's main line. Additionally, the
Government of Canada will contribute $33.25 million for upgrades to Inkster
Boulevard between the Winnipeg Perimeter Highway and Oakpoint Highway,
including twinning 6.6 kilometres of Inkster Boulevard to a four-lane divided
highway, building an interchange at Sturgeon Road, constructing a new overpass
at the CPR main line and making interchange improvements at the Northwest
Perimeter
    Highway. These upgrades will improve access to trucking depots, the
Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport and the CPR freight
terminals, as well as reducing truck travel times, thereby increasing the
efficiency of the Gateway.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Manitoba will be provided with more than
$2.7 billion.

    Ontario
    -------

    The Government of Canada has committed close to $1 billion for FLOW -
Canada's long-term transit plan for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and up to
$697 million towards the eligible project costs for the 8.6-kilometre
extension of the Spadina subway through York University to the Vaughan
Corporate Centre. The project's estimated total is $2.1 billion, with the
Province of Ontario already providing $670 million in a trust for this
project. The City of Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York will be
responsible for the remainder of the project costs.
    In Budget 2007, the federal government committed to paying up to 50 per
cent of the eligible capital costs and setting aside an initial $400 million
towards the construction of a new access road linking Highway 401 to the new
bridge crossing between Windsor and Detroit. Although responsibility for the
access road rests with the Province of Ontario, the federal government is
committed to increasing capacity at the busiest border crossing for
Canada-United States trade, and one of the most significant commercial trade
corridors in the world.
    The Peterborough Commuter Rail Link is a top priority for the Government
of Canada. This was a commitment made in Budget 2008, and the federal
government will ensure this project becomes a reality. The Public Transit
Trust for Ontario and Building Canada will contribute to its realization.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Ontario will be provided with more than
$7.7 billion.

    Quebec
    ------

    The Government of Canada has been working with the Government of Quebec to
complete Highway 30 - a project estimated at $1 billion - between
Vaudreuil-Dorion and Candiac, which will provide a four-lane bypass highway to
ensure a smooth flow of people and goods in the Greater Montreal Area. This
bypass will help ease road congestion and improve air quality in the area,
contribute to the development of markets in the Montérégie region, and provide
greater access to markets in Ontario, the Maritimes and the United States. The
project is also in line with the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway announced
in 2007 by the Federal Government, Quebec and Ontario.
    The governments of Canada and Quebec also announced $75 million over five
years to restore the infrastructure of shortline railways throughout Quebec,
in order to support economic development and promote interregional,
interprovincial and international trade and commerce.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Quebec will be provided with more than $5
billion.

    New Brunswick
    -------------

    In March 2006, the Prime Minister announced an agreement with the
Government of New Brunswick to refurbish highways in the province that form
part of the National Highway System. The announcement called for a
$200-million federal commitment over ten years for cost-shared highway
improvements. Since that time, Canada has concluded a Memorandum of
Understanding with the province for improvements to Highways 1, 7, 8, 11 and
17. The first $100 million in federal funding for Phase 1 of the MOU will come
from New Brunswick's share of Building Canada.
    Under the Building Canada plan, New Brunswick will be provided with more
than $636 million.

    Nova Scotia
    -----------

    On November 9, 2007, the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia identified
the construction of a new Highway 104 twinning project outside Antigonish as a
priority for funding under Building Canada. Phase 1 of the project will
involve twinning a section of highway between Addington Forks Road and Beech
Hill Road. The Government of Canada's share of this project is 50 per cent of
the eligible costs, up to a maximum of $25 million.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Nova Scotia will be provided with more
than $752 million.

    Newfoundland and Labrador
    -------------------------

    On December 17, 2007, the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and
Labrador announced that improvements to the Trans Labrador Highway and
upgrades to the Argentia Access Road are among the first funding priorities in
the province under Building Canada. The Government of Canada will provide up
to $51.5 million for these two initiatives.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Newfoundland and Labrador will be provided
with more than $499 million.

    Prince Edward Island
    --------------------

    The Government of Canada, the Government of Prince Edward Island and the
Town of Montague celebrated the official Montague bridge opening in December
2007. This $4.9-million infrastructure project was made possible through the
Canada-Prince Edward Island Gas Tax Program. This new structure replaces the
old bridge, which served the town for over 50 years. Through the Public
Transit Capital Trust and the Public Transit Fund, the Government of Canada
also provided $250,000 to Pat and the Elephant, a PEI company that provides
transit services to physically challenged people. Thanks to this funding, two
new vans accessible to Islanders with disabilities came into service in 2007.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Prince Edward Island will be provided with
more than $302.4 million.

    Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut
    -------------------------------------

    The Government of Canada is working with the governments of Nunavut, the
Northwest Territories and Yukon to address important public transit and active
transportation needs. The Public Transit Capital Trust 2008 is providing $1.6
million for various projects, ranging from public transit vehicles, buses and
bus shelters, signage for cycling trails and secure bike racks, to pedestrian
walkways and trail systems, and funding for dust reduction on gravel runways.
These investments will improve mobility in the Yukon, Northwest Territories
and Nunavut's larger communities.
    Under the Building Canada plan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut
will be provided with more than $275 million, $278 million and $274 million
respectively.
    




For further information:

For further information: Media Relations: Communications, Transport
Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; www.buildingcanada.gc.ca; www.tc.gc.ca


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