B.C. fast tracks highway project funding

VICTORIA — An investment of $174 million for highway improvements in B.C.’s interior region has been accelerated and the first of the projects is expected to begin this construction season.

The funding will allow for engineering for five highway improvement projects along highways 1 and 97A in the southern interior region of the province to be accelerated, enabling tendering and construction to advance as quickly as possible.

“Only three short months ago, I met with my provincial counterparts in Vancouver where we agreed to fast-track infrastructure spending, stimulate the economy and create new jobs for Canadians,” said federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister John Baird.

Both the province and the feds have identified these projects as a priority for infrastructure funding consideration. The federal government is setting aside up to a maximum of $78 million, which will amount to a maximum of 50 percent of eligible costs, for these projects.

“The B.C. government has been working with the Government of Canada to get these dollars flowing quickly into communities across the province,” said B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Falcon. “Not only are these projects important improvements to safety, they’re an important stimulus to local economies, and it’s estimated that this investment will create over 1,700 direct and indirect jobs.”

These highway projects are part of an overall $14-billion capital infrastructure program supported by the province to create jobs and vital public infrastructure in every region of B.C.

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