|INTERPROVINCIAL TRANSPORTATION AND TRANSIT UPDATE|
I want to start by hoping that you and your loved ones are all healthy and safe knowing the second wave of the pandemic is now in our communities. I want to thank you for taking the necessary measures and to follow the Ottawa Public Health’s recommendations of social distancing and a wearing mask in public. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to download the COVID-19 Alert App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. This app respects your privacy while helping identify potential contacts in our community and reducing the spread of COVID-19. This is a difficult time for us all, but I have seen how our community can and will work together to stay safe.
Earlier this year in May and June during the community associations town halls, I updated many of you about interprovincial transportation and transit in the National Capital Region and promised I would keep you informed of the work being done by PSPC and the National Capital Commission. Here’s the latest information that I can report.
As we all know, interprovincial transportation has been a hot topic in our community for many years. The federal government has a responsibility to maintain and manage interprovincial crossings that meet the transportation needs of the region. As many of you know, in Budget 2019, our Government committed to refreshing previous studies looking at a broad set of criteria and impacts an additional crossing would have. The initial stage of that work is now done with a presentation that was made to the NCC Board in June.
The government is still in the process of reviewing all information that it has and no decision or recommendation has been made at this time. As part of the Government’s responsibility to maintain and manage interprovincial transportation, PSPC conducted an additional study that relies on 2011 and 2013 data. The Department and the Minister responsible is still in the process of reviewing this information as much has changed since 2011 for example. As I have discussed before, we must ensure any plan forward respects our Governments commitment Indigenous consultations, proper environmental impact assessments, and is made using accurate and updated transportation flows.
I also shared during the community virtual town halls, two other important studies currently underway including a Long-Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossing Plan led by the National Capital Commission with support from provincial governments and the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa, as well as the once-a-decade Interprovincial Traffic Study for 2020. This information is necessary for, among other data points, to properly understand the traffic impacts of the two public transit systems, These additional studies along with community and public engagement will be serve to support the Government in any ultimate decision. It bears repeating that no decision or recommendation has been made at this time.
I can share with you today that as a result of the pandemic and the resulting impacts on patterns and the significant reduction on overall traffic, the Interprovincial Traffic Study has been delayed.
As part of the development of this Long-Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossing Plan, the NCC will launch a consultation with stakeholders, partners and members of the public.. You can find the public engagement approach and timeline following this link link.
While I understand there are many concerns about any additional crossing, the Government is also responsible for maintaining existing crossing and is currently working on the Alexandra Bridge. That is why PSPC is working closely with the National Capital Commission and the Cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, to ensure that federal bridges in the National Capital Region are safely and effectively serving Canadians, and that lane closures are properly coordinated.
In the weeks and months to come, I will continue to inform Ottawa-Vanier residents of this exercise and I commit to continue to work in partnership with elected officials, leaders of community associations and the residents of our community.
If you have any questions or want to discuss this further, my “virtual” door is open.