News Release - June 22, 2009
NEW COMMITTEE FORMED TO ADVISE GOVERNMENT ON NORTHERN ROADS STRATEGY
A new committee that will guide development of the transportation network for northern Saskatchewan held its first meeting in Prince Albert today.
The Northern Transportation Advisory Committee (NTAC) has a mandate to advise government on the development of a comprehensive Northern Transportation Strategy. A key task of the committee will be to develop a system for identifying and ranking potential upgrades to provincial highways in the north. This system will be modelled on the ministry's existing Rural Highways Strategy (RHS). Under the RHS, nearly 300 highway corridors in the south were assessed using a consistent set of criteria with the highest ranking corridors being included the five-year capital plan.
"We have had considerable success in addressing the infrastructure challenges in rural Saskatchewan by working in partnership with key stakeholders to develop a transparent and consistent system for prioritizing transportation investments," Highways and Infrastructure Minister Jim Reiter said. "We will repeat this success in the north by developing a similar system that recognizes the unique circumstances of northern Saskatchewan and balances the demands for investment in both key economic corridors and community access roads."
The committee includes representatives of New North, the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, the Prince Albert Grand Council, Area Transportation Planning Committees and associations representing industries such as mining, tourism, forestry and oil and gas.
"Having had the opportunity to observe the RHS process, I see the Northern Transportation Advisory Committee as having great potential for the north," North East Area Transportation Planning Committee Chair Bruce Fidler said. "This process provides an opportunity for real input and advice from northern communities, First Nations and industry."
While the work of the Committee will be ongoing, it is anticipated that a policy framework will be developed for inclusion in 2010-11 budget process.
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