Highway 16 Transportation Plan Moves Forward
Transportation Minister Todd Stone, and Minister in charge of Aboriginal relations, John Rustad, unveil Action Plan
Prince George, B.C.- Long called the Highway of Tears because of the number of women who have gone missing or have been murdered along this corridor, Minister of Transportation, Todd Stone says that as of today, 16 memorandums of understanding have been signed with communities from Prince Rupert to Prince George for BC Transit expansion. “That means every single community along that corridor, has signed on, has committed, not just in principle to this plan, but in funding to ensure there is transit service available connecting their respective communities.”
He says work will begin soon to develop routes and schedules with the service expected to be operating by the end of this year.
Stone also announced $2 million dollars in new federal and provincial funding for the Highway 16 Transportation Action plan first announced in December of 2015.
He also announced that as of today, applications are being accepted for grants to buy community vehicles to provide transportation, “We will be accepting applications for grants under that program until September 16th 2016.”
Stone says there is no “one size fits all” plan for the region, and that is why each community and First Nation’s concerns have been taken into account to ensure each community has the tools it needs to provide transportation service.
A request for proposals has been posted on BC Bid for a qualified organization to provide driver education training for First Nations to increase the number of class 4 and 5 drivers along the corridor.
All weather transit shelters have been purchased and will soon be installed. Three new webcams have been installed in the Smithers area and additional web cams will be installed in the months to come.
Stone says there will also be increased collaboration and co-ordination between existing transportation service providers along the corridor.
Over the coming weeks and months, the ministry will be further engaging with First Nations Chiefs and Councils, mayors and councillors, First Nations organizations, and community groups, to ensure that they are kept up to date
on the implementation plan and have the information they need to participate in the actions outlined today.
“These steps will soon translate into tangible results for First Nations communities and local communities up and down the Highway 16 corridor” sais Stone, “Recognizing again that this is an 800 kilometer corridor, we want to ensure that development of a plan that’s going to work in each of these different communities.”
Here is the dollar breakdown for the transportation plan:
- Transit expansion, : up to $2.4 million over 3 years
- Community Transportation grants, Up to $800 thousand dollars over three years
- First Nations Driver education :Up to $300 thousand over 3 years
- Webcams and Transit Shelters : Up to $1.5 million over 2 years
- Collaboration to increase interconnectivity