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Ontario, feds announce funding for borders

QUEENSTON, Ont. -- A total $325 million in funding for 14 projects to improve border crossings in the Niagara and S...

QUEENSTON, Ont. — A total $325 million in funding for 14 projects to improve border crossings in the Niagara and Sarnia regions was announced today.

The projects, to be funded jointly by the provincial and federal governments, cover a range of initiatives aimed at reducing border congestion and expanding the capacity of the existing road infrastructure.

Projects to receive funding include: a new dedicated lane for commercial drivers with FAST cards on the 405 at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge ($51 million); security and technology enhancements and upgrades to the commercial vehicle processing center at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie ($42 million); the widening of the QEW to six lanes from Mountain Road in Niagara Falls to west of Glendale Avenue in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the widening to six lanes of the QEW between the 406 and the Garden City Skyway Bridge through St. Catharines ($108 million); and six projects to improve access to the Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward, Ont. including upgrades to the 401 and the 402 ($110 million).

The remaining $14 million in funding is a five per cent contingency allowance, explained a federal transport ministry official.

The money will come from the Canadian government’s $600 million Border Infrastructure Fund (from the 2001 budget), designed to support the Smart Border Action Plan to reduce border congestion.

The funding announcement got mixed reviews from the Ontario Trucking Association.

“Both levels of government are following through on their commitments to the major border crossings and to ensuring that the infrastructure is there to facilitate FAST shipments,” said OTA president David Bradley today.

But he was quick to point out a solution for the Windsor border crossing remains to be found.

“Of course, we still need a solution in Windsor, the $300 million has been committed but no plan yet.”

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