David Ramsay – Corridors for Canada III: Building for Prosperity
Mr. Speaker, achieving our government’s vision of a strong, prosperous Territory requires that adequate supporting infrastructure, such as the transportation system, is in place to effectively link communities to opportunities for social growth and economic prosperity.
The Department of Transportation has made significant improvements to the transportation system over the last ten years through partnerships with the federal government under the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund and the Building Canada Plan. Through these partnership agreements, the GNWT and federal government have invested more than $330 million in transportation infrastructure. These investments were guided by two funding proposals, Corridors for Canada I and Corridors for Canada II, submitted to the federal government under each of these federal funding programs.
Mr. Speaker, in March 2013, Canada announced details of its new infrastructure investment strategy under Canada’s Economic Action Plan. This new federal funding program includes a new Building Canada Fund, with $14 billion investments allocated over the next ten years.
This new fund will provide our territory with an opportunity to continue the transportation system improvements accomplished through the previous infrastructure funding programs that are now coming to a close.
Mr. Speaker, later today at the appropriate time, I will be pleased to table the Corridors for Canada III – Building for Prosperity, the Department of Transportation’s strategic funding proposal that will be submitted for consideration under the new Building Canada Fund. The proposal includes a $600 million investment over ten years to improve our winter roads, highways, bridges, marine and airport infrastructure.
Corridors for Canada III is an action plan that addresses transportation infrastructure needs across all regions of the Northwest Territories.
These investments are proposed under the two separate components of the new Building Canada Fund: the $10 billion Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Fund and the $4 billion National Infrastructure Fund.
We are proposing to invest $415 million over ten years under the provincial-territorial base funding program. Investment is proposed for reconstruction, grade and safety improvements on all of our eight public highways and the Dettah Access Road, bridge rehabilitation and replacement, a new air terminal building in Inuvik, and upgrades to our ferry landings.
We are also proposing an investment of $185 million over ten years under the second component of the Building Canada Fund called the National Infrastructure Fund – a merit-based investment program that targets projects of national significance. Projects proposed under this fund address the next steps to advance the Mackenzie Valley Highway, enable economic development and help the transportation system adapt to climate change.
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada recognizes the Mackenzie Valley Highway as a project of national significance that will improve industry access to energy resources and lead to prosperity and economic benefits spread across the country. The future completion of an all-weather Mackenzie Valley Highway is also a priority of this government.
The Mackenzie Valley Highway investments proposed include completing the highway’s environmental assessment, constructing bridges including the Bear River Bridge, and a new segment of winter road linking Fort Good Hope to the Dempster Highway. Grade improvements along the existing alignment will also bring us closer to the future completion of the all-weather highway.
This government is taking a balanced approach that will help us grow our economy, support our people and manage our environment responsibly. Corridors for Canada III is an important part of that approach. The objective of our infrastructure funding proposal is to continue working with Canada to address our transportation infrastructure priorities that lead to jobs, economic growth, and prosperous communities in the Northwest Territories. We will promote this proposal to the federal government this summer, and I will report back on our success during the fall session.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.