Feds give $50 million to improve traffic flow at city ports
VANCOUVER — The federal government is providing almost $50 million to make truck and train traffic run more smoothly at Vancouver's ports.
The sum — up to $49.7 million — is part of a $125-million upgrade that will add 11 overpasses — one on Powell Street in east Vancouver and the rest on port lands on the south side of Burrard Inlet — to improve rail and road access to the terminals. The improvements will also accommodate longer trains travelling through the port lands and lead to shorter wait times for trucks and other vehicles.
The remaining money for the projects will be provided by Port Metro Vancouver and local container and grain terminals, as well as the City of Vancouver and Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways.
These projects will not only improve the flow of traffic but will also create and sustain jobs "in the midst of the worst global recession in half a century," Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a news conference at Ballantyne Pier.
"They are as well laying the foundations for the longer-term prosperity of our country by creating the infrastructure that will strengthen our trading relationships with the rising economic powers of Asia," Harper said.
Separating rail traffic from road traffic "will dramatically improve the movement of people and goods," Harper said.
"More freight will be able to travel more efficiently through the port, traffic congestion will be reduced, road safety increased and emergency vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians will all enjoy freer, safer movement throughout the area," Harper said. "But most important of all, these projects bring us one step closer to making our Asia Pacific gateway and corridor the best transpacific transportation network on the continent," Harper said.
Canadian Pacific Railway, with a number of trains accessing the terminals, will be contributing $9.8 million to the project.
Relieving road and rail bottlenecks at the terminals will give CP a greater competitive edge over its West Coast counterparts in the United States, CP's president and CEO Fred Green said at the news conference.
In March, the federal government committed up to $75 million toward $260-million worth of road and rail projects aimed at improving traffic flow to and through terminals on the north side of Burrard Inlet.