Funding talks start over road weather info system

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Transport Canada is now starting funding talks for the development of a cross-Canada road weather information network.

The feds will pay up to 50 per cent of eligible costs relating to the acquisition and installation of the system components, subject to the successful conclusion of contribution agreements with the provinces and territories. The provinces and territories are expected to pay the balance, as well as the ongoing operation and maintenance costs.

Transport Minister David Collenette today announced he views the talks as a major step forward in the development of a cross-Canada integrated network of Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS).

"These systems will provide critical weather information for road maintenance crews to help determine if, when, and how best to salt roads," said Mr. Collenette. "This will contribute significantly to the enhancement of road safety and travel efficiency while respecting the environment."

Road Weather Information Systems are automated weather reporting stations with special sensors embedded in and below the road, and on nearby towers. These systems collect detailed data on weather conditions at and near the road surface, which can assist weather forecasters in predicting icing conditions.

Federal funding will be provided through the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) portion of the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP). In the February 2000 Budget Speech, the Government of Canada committed to improving the economy and the quality of life for Canadians by investing $600 million on highway infrastructure across Canada.

Part of the SHIP funding – $100 million – will go to initiatives that better integrate the country’s transportation system. One of these is the ITS initiative, which includes applications such as advanced systems for traveler information, traffic management, public transport, commercial vehicle operations, emergency response management, and vehicle safety.

Funding for this program is built into the existing financial framework, according to Transport Canada.

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