Transport Minister focuses on the Environment
July 1, 2003
By Canadian Consulting Engineer
Federal Transport Minister David Collenette's vision for transportation in Canada is articulated in a recently released document titled "Straight Ahead." The document covers the full spectrum of long-...
Federal Transport Minister David Collenette’s vision for transportation in Canada is articulated in a recently released document titled “Straight Ahead.” The document covers the full spectrum of long-term transportation issues in Canada, ranging from airline and railway competition issues to critical infrastructure needs, environmental pressures and safety and security imperatives.
Although the Minister’s vision addresses a great deal of legislative and consumer protection issues, it does provide specific directions and calls for action in a number of areas of interest to consulting engineers, including:
Maintaining safety and security as the cornerstones of Canada’s transportation policy, with a clear focus on the need to continually improve safety and security for Canadians;
An emphasis on infrastructure investments aimed at reducing congestion in our cities and bottlenecks at the Canada-U.S. border and in our trade corridors;
A clear focus on environmental issues, with specific measures — such as promoting vehicles and fuels that produce fewer emissions, increased use of alternative modes of transportation for passenger travel, and more efficient transportation of goods — to support the government’s Climate Change Plan. Specifically, the federal government will place increasing emphasis on public transit in existing and future infrastructure agreements with provincial and territorial governments.
The vision calls for a strategy that will promote increased use of alternative modes of transportation for passenger travel.
“The Minister has put forward an interesting vision that will stimulate a good debate on Canada’s long-term transportation needs,” said ACEC President Claude Paul Boivin. “Today’s reality, however, is that Canada has a $17.2 billion deficit in highways that must be addressed in the medium term,” added Mr. Boivin.
The Coalition to Renew Canada’s Infrastructure, an advocacy group that promotes investments in highways, was not impressed with the Minister’s vision. “If this is the vision of transportation in Canada, then someone better get their eyes checked,” said Jim Facette, the Coalition’s President. “This document does nothing to solve the serious problem facing Canada’s National Highway System.” Mr. Facette added, “If this policy document is any indication of where the commitment to increase investment in the Strategic Infrastructure Fund by $2 billion will go, then Canadians should take note because very little will end up on highways.”
For more information on Minister Collenette’s vision visit Transport Canada’s website at www.tc.gc.ca.