Feds invest $102.5M in N.W.T. transportation infrastructure
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, recently announced a major investment of $102.5 million for a project that will reduce the cost of essential goods and help local businesses compete by moving goods to market.
This funding supports several key phases of the longer-term, Mackenzie Valley Highway project:
• Construction of a bridge over the Great Bear River, which will improve the resiliency of the winter road to climate change, enhance safety, extend the number of operating days of the winter road by two to four weeks, and enhance the efficiency of community resupply operations;
• Construction of a 15-kilometre all-weather road from Wrigley north to Mount Gaudet; and
• Next steps in moving forward with the Mackenzie Valley Highway, including environmental and planning studies. The studies will inform final routing and design for the eventual construction of the all-weather highway, leading to obtaining permits for road construction.
"By better connecting communities, we are helping to strengthen the North, grow its economy, create opportunities for communities, all of which help build stronger families. Better roads and infrastructure also means more people can come experience the majesty of the North for themselves and share in the experience,” Bennett said.
The Government of Northwest Territories is contributing $37.5 million to the project for a total combined investment from both governments of $140 million.
This project is expected to have significant economic and employment benefits by creating an estimated 400 jobs over the life of the project.
"Today's funding announcement matters because it demonstrates that we can turn our vision of economic prosperity and opportunity for all of our residents of the Northwest Territories into reality by working together,” said Premier of the Northwest Territories Bob McLeod. “This funding will help advance projects that our communities, residents and businesses have been promoting for years, and allows for important planning work to continue to move the Mackenzie Valley Highway project forward."
The Government of Canada is supporting infrastructure projects that contribute most to Canada's continued success in international trade.
For example, projects being funded will:
• Address the unique transportation needs in Canada's territorial North to improve safety and foster economic and social development;
• Support economic activity and the physical movement of goods and people in Canada;
• Help the transportation system withstand the effects of climate change and make sure it is able to support new technologies and innovation;
• Address transportation bottlenecks and congestion along Canada's trade corridors; and
• Increase the fluidity of Canadian trade around the world through our ports, airports, roads, railways, intermodal facilities, bridges and border crossings.
Provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous groups, not-for-profit and for-profit private-sector organizations, federal Crown Corporations, Canadian Port Authorities, and National Airport System Airport Authorities are all eligible for funding under the National Trade Corridors Fund.
"This funding announcement is of great significance to the Northwest Territories and supports key components of the larger Mackenzie Valley Highway project. Highway infrastructure plays a very important part in in the longevity and health of our communities. Not just because of the connections it will make, but also because of the skills, training and economic benefit opportunities that construction projects bring to the communities and the people of the north,” said Minister of Infrastructure for Northwest Territories Wally Schumann.
"I am pleased to see this project going ahead. Extending the operating days of the winter road greatly improves the flow of goods to Northern communities, allows for more inter-community travel and will help decrease the cost of living. The additional jobs from construction are a much needed boost to the Sahtu region,” added Michael McLeod, MP for Northwest Territories.
• The National Trade Corridors Fund is designed to allow the government to address the most important capacity constraints and freight bottlenecks on a national and system-wide basis, as well as addressing Canada's territorial North specific issues including safety and economic development.
• All-season highways and winter ice roads in the North handle more than 1.2 million tonnes of freight traffic each year. This project will improve the efficiency and safety of vital transportation links to communities in Northwest Territories and support economic and social development of northern Canadians.
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