New shelters, surveillance cameras and public transportation options are all key parts of the provincial government’s $3 million plan announced today to make Hwy16 safer between Prince Rupert and Prince George.
“We are unveiling a five point action plan for safe transportation options along the corridor,” minister Todd Stone said in a press release this afternoon.
The money, which will be spent according to guidelines established at a transportation symposium held last month in Smithers, will be available through various streams and will involve cost sharing with communities.
The five points of the new plan include:
“-$1.6 million over 2 years for transit expansion: These new funds will be available on a cost-shared basis with local communities to extend or enhance BC Transit services to better connect communities.
-$750,000 over 3 years for a community transportation grant program to purchase and operate vehicles: These new funds will be available on a cost-shared basis with local communities to support community-based transportation programs operated by First Nations, local governments or non-profit organizations.
-$150,000 over 3 years for a First Nations driver education program: These new funds will build upon the current driver training/education program to increase the number of Class 4 and Class 5 drivers in First Nations communities along the Highway 16 corridor.
-$500,000 over 2 years for highway infrastructure safety improvements including webcams and transit shelters: These new funds will enable the ministry to increase the number of webcams on the highway and the frequency of photographs taken at these spots. New transit shelters will be built in communities that will be receiving new or expanded transit service.
-Collaboration to increase interconnectivity of services: The ministry will work to increase coordination of existing transportation services through BC Transit, Northern Health, not for profit organizations andprivate service providers including efforts to better synchronize schedules and expand user eligibility criteria.”
In January and February, a nine-person advisory committee already struck by the government will develop a process by which First Nations communities and municipalities can apply for the available money, the release continues.