Highway 16 Transportation Plan Coming Together
Prince George, B.C. – The Prince George to Prince Rupert transportation plan is making progress says B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone, and some aspects are expected to be rolling by the end of this year.
( at right Transportation Minister Todd Stone addresses group at ICBA gathering in Prince George – photo 250News)
Minister Stone met with the Highway 16 Advisory Council this week “It was a great opportunity to mutually update each other on how its going and how the plan is ramping up. We are making tremendous progress. It was a very positive meeting. Some of the transit should be in place by the end of this year. We will have all of the transit in every community from Rupert to George in place by the late Spring of next year.”
Stone says many of the transit shelters are in place, the driver education contract has been awarded to Carrier Sekani , “On the collaboration front, there is some really good work going on with Northern Health on the use of the Northern Health bus and synchronizing the schedules of existing transportation providers like Northern Health with the community vans and transit services. It’s a complicated mix of initiatives, but its all coming together quite nicely.”
One of the surprises in this transportation puzzle is the offer by VIA Rail to get involved. “I am cautiously optimistic that VIA Rail will becoming to the table with something quite extraordinary” says Minister Stone. ” They are very serious, and really exploring with us and others on the Highway 16 Advisory Council how they might be part of the solution moving forward. So they’re considering a heavily discounted fare for individuals along the corridor who really need transportation. That would just provide another option. It won’t work for everybody, but it will work for some, I am just thrilled that they are willing to have a conversation with us about it, and it was their initiative, they were proactive and came forward, it wasn’t that we approached them so I have to give them full credit. I look forward to having further discussions taking place with them.”
Part of the Highway 16 Transportation plan is an operations/maintenance facility for Prince George. That’s a $23 million dollar project. “It is a much needed facility here in Prince George” says Stone . He says the location of that facility will be announced soon “We are getting very close on finalizing all the details” and he is hopeful the work can start before Christmas.