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Archived - Federal-provincial partnership completes highway 16 improvements

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No. H 244/08
For release - December 19, 2008

OTTAWA — Canada’s Transport Minister, John Baird, and Prince George-Omineca MLA, John Rustad, today announced the completion of the Highway 16 improvements near Vanderhoof, British Columbia.

The Government of Canada contributed $1.05 million and British Columbia contributed $2.35 million toward the $3.4-million project. The federal funding comes from the $44-million federal commitment to fund transportation infrastructure projects through the Mountain Pine Beetle Program under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI).

The improvements include a 2-km auxiliary passing lane, and intersection improvements on Highway 16, approximately 68 km east of Vanderhoof, east of Prince George. Highway 16, known as the Yellowhead Highway, is the only direct link of the National Highway System to the Asia-Pacific Region through the Port of Prince Rupert and is also the primary east/west route through Northern B.C. It links communities to Prince George and lies in the heart of pine beetle-impacted forests.

“Our government’s investment in the Highway 16 project will have positive effects on the local economy, create jobs and encourage trade,” said Minister Baird. “This is another example of what our government is doing to build a better and more prosperous future for British Columbians.”

“Highway 16 is a vital roadway for northern residents, visitors and commercial traffic,” said Mr. Rustad. “This great investment addresses the damages caused by increased industrial traffic from mountain pine beetle harvest log hauling and will provide a safer ride for local traffic.”

“This is an excellent example of cooperation between the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia to strengthen our Pacific Gateway,” said the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. “These improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway are vital to the economy and enhance not only safety but the capacity to move goods quickly and efficiently.”

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is a national initiative that is contributing to Canada's economic competitiveness, while also benefiting communities through which international trade must move. Since the Government of Canada launched this $1 billion initiative in October 2006, strategic infrastructure projects valued at almost $2.5 billion have been announced across all four western provinces, including a federal contribution of over $900 million.

In January 2007, the Government of Canada announced the Mountain Pine Beetle Program, a $200-million investment over three years to slow the eastward spread of the mountain pine beetle infestation, to recover economic value from impacted forests and to protect forest resources and communities.

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.

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Contacts:

Chris Day
Press Secretary
Office of Transport and Infrastructure Minister John Baird, Ottawa
613-990-0700

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055



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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.

The Government of Canada launched the APGCI on October 11, 2006 and 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 the project was conditional on the Province of B.C. providing the agreed 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.

December 2008


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