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It's feast or famine for highway funding in the North Peace

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer has made headlines over the last week with a spate of federal funding announcements to improve highways across the Peace Region and in the Northern Rockies.
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A pair of federal funding announcements for the Alaska highway in the North Peace over the last week of July totaled more than what Ottawa has spent on the region over the last decade.

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer has made headlines over the last week with a spate of federal funding announcements to improve highways across the Peace Region and in the Northern Rockies.

At one of those announcements last week, B.C.’s Transportation Minister Todd Stone noted that federal funding partners are “absolutely critical” to making sure certain roads get built.

But data provided by the province shows that when it comes to federal partnership funding for Peace Region highways, it can be either feast or famine.

On July 24, the federal government announced that it would provide up to $17.5 million for a major highway corridor upgrade near Fort Nelson.

A week later, the government announced it would give up to another $2.2 million to add a southbound lane to Highway 97 north of Charlie Lake.

In terms of dollars, the pair of announcements are worth more than the federal government has given B.C. to expand highway roads in the North Peace from the 2005-06 to 2014-15 construction seasons.

According to B.C. Ministry of Transportation information, Ottaw has only given about $18.3 million North Peace roads during this time. For South Peace roads, the dollars were higher, at around $34.1 million. 

For seven out of the last ten years, the federal government has not provided help to build roads in partnership with the B.C. government for the North Peace, and it has not given funds to the South Peace for six out of the last ten years.

All told, the federal government has given $130 million to northern B.C. for road works outside of the Peace, as well.

reporter@ahnfsj.ca