Monday, February 15, 2016

Northwest Communities receive Federal Gas Tax Funding for infrastructure projects

The Federal Government delivered millions of dollars in cash on Friday to a number of Northwest Communities, providing financial assistance towards a range of  transportation or community infrastructure projects.

The Northwest's piece of the Funding pie is a bit of a sliver of the $73.3 million distributed to 57 projects across the province, but there were two major projects in the region that found a significant amount of money deposited as part of the announcement  from Friday.

Terrace received the largest amount in the region from the Federal Gas Tax distributions, with $4,325,430 to be provided to that community for a renewal and upgrade of the Terrace Aquatic Centre.

Smithers will put the $4,000,000 it receives towards an expansion and improvement of the Smithers Regional Airport, adding 2 million of its own funding to put that plan in motion.

Hazelton will be using their $58,700 share on Long Term infrastructure and Assets.

Funding amounts continued to decline sharply as the funding announcement news travelled further west, with the District of Port Edward receiving $60,000 for what is described as Asset Management Projects.

The Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District will receive $18,489 from the Fund allocating that money towards the Regional Recycling Depot.

The City of Prince Rupert will be provided with $97,250 from the fund towards what the Federal Government announcement described as Asset Management Phase 1.

A bureaucratic explanation that was expanded on further by Mayor Brain for CFTK Television on Friday.

During the interview, the Mayor noted that the money that the city will receive from the Fund will be put towards the Prince Rupert Airport, as well as to further the City's project to connect Lax Kw'alaams, Metlakatla and Prince Rupert to the Digby Island Airport.

The City outlined some of that proposed development in late December, noting how the Prince Rupert and Area Corridor Project would provide for a shared ferry and road network to connect Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams to a more frequent Ferry Service from Prince Rupert.

That proposed change in the current transportation system on the North Coast would provide Prince Rupert residents with access to the new road between the two First Nation communities and the Airport.

On Friday, the Mayor, who recently travelled to Ottawa for discussions with Federal officials, also indicated for CFTK that some of the Federal funding would be designated to study the idea of a truck bypass road along Wantage Road to reduce concerns about trucks running through the downtown area.

Considering the modest amount of money directed to Prince Rupert from the Gas Tax Fund distribution, it would seem that dividing up the funding towards three initiatives will provide for but a small injection of cash to each of those three city priorities.

The Gas Tax Fund is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municpalities, as part of a partnership with the Federal and Provincial governments.

You can review the full list of the funding allocations here, while more background on the Federal Gas Tax Fund can be found here.

For more items related to Infrastructure issues in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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