News Release - June 3, 2009
SASKATCHEWAN FOCUSES ON INNOVATION AS PART OF NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION WEEK
Highways and Infrastructure Minister Jim Reiter proclaimed June 3 - 9 as National Transportation Week by highlighting advancements in transportation.
"Whether that's coming up with a better made-in-Saskatchewan snowplow wing, using recycled tires to produce pavement or engaging in unique partnerships to create more jobs and business opportunities, I'm very impressed with the innovative thinking going on, both with our ministry employees and our contractors," Reiter said.
"Even with record amounts being invested in the transportation system, we still have more projects than we have funding," Reiter said. "This is why the innovation agenda is so important. We're proving we can deliver expanded budgets by thinking outside the box, and as a result, we're fast becoming a North American leader in the construction, operation and management of transportation systems."
National Transportation Week celebrates Canadian achievements in air, rail, marine and road transportation advancements.
"Thanks to our partnership with the University of Saskatchewan to create the Centre of Excellence for Transportation and Infrastructure, we're using our highway system as a living lab to develop leading-edge road design and construction techniques," Reiter said.
The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure is also working with community groups to foster shortline railways, providing another transportation option in rural areas, as well as working with community airports to improve safety and infrastructure.
"The new Global Transportation Hub taking shape in Regina is indicative of this ministry's innovative thinking, engaging with different levels of government and different agencies as we work toward the common goal of an improved transportation system," Reiter said. "This project will change the way Saskatchewan shippers and exporters access global supply chains and when you consider exports account for 70 per cent of Saskatchewan's economy, we're creating the kind of transportation system that will help keep Saskatchewan strong and steady during the current economic times."
With a record budget of $630 million, Highways and Infrastructure is working with the largest tender plan in the province's history, rebuilding 250 km of rural highways, repairing and resurfacing an additional 300 km of provincial highways, and doubling the amount of work on bridges and culverts.
The ministry is responsible for 26,000 km of provincial highways - the most extensive provincial highway network per capita in Canada. The ministry's portfolio also includes the regulation of nine shortline railways spanning 1,700 km, and the operation of 18 northern airports, 12 provincial ferries and one barge.
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