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OTTAWA, Ont. — Transport Minister David Collenette has started negotiations with the provinces and territories in connection with the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP).

“Highway infrastructure is critical to Canada’s ability to safely and efficiently transport people and goods, and to compete in the North American economy,” explains Collenette.

“This program builds upon the successful partnerships we have developed with other levels of government and the private sector under previous programs.”

Transport Canada will begin negotiating immediately with the provinces and territories to identify which highway projects will be considered a priority for funding.

This will include continued twinning of parts of the Trans-Canada Highway, widening of highways, and construction of interchanges.

All projects of this nature need immediate attention as a result of growing traffic, increasing trade, and the need for safety-related improvements.

“The funds identified under SHIP will also advance the deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) across Canada and fund improvements to border crossings,” Collenette adds.

ITS includes applications such as advanced systems for traveller information, traffic management, public transport, commercial vehicle operations, emergency response management, and vehicle safety. Improvements to border crossings are necessary to better manage the increasing amount of cross-border traffic and make improvements at several major crossings.

Funding for this program was provided for in the February 2000 Budget and is therefore built into the existing financial framework. In the February 2000 Budget Speech, the Government of Canada committed to improve the economy and the quality of life for Canadians by investing $600 million over four years on highway infrastructure across Canada.

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