City To Benefit From New Connecting Links Program

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Mayor Provenzano with Michael Gravelle MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North and Steven Del Duca Minister of Transportation
Mayor Provenzano with Michael Gravelle MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North and Steven Del Duca Minister of Transportation

Sault Ste. Marie has the most connecting links in Ontario so it’s only fitting that the Province announced that the connecting links program has been re-established in the Sault.

The Ontario government is re-introducing the Connecting Links program to support an integrated transportation network across the province, announced David Orazietti, MPP.

Mayor Provenzano happy that the program has been re-established
Mayor Provenzano happy that the program has been re-established

“This is great news for our city because it means additional provincial investments in our area highways and streets,” said Orazietti.‎ “Since 2003 we have made massive investments in our local infrastructure and today’s commitment to a new connecting link program builds on our progress.”

Mayor Provenzano said it was still too early to determine what exactly the city would be asking for, “I just found out about this, “this is a new pot of money that we can access to keep our roads safe and frankly takes some pressure of the local taxpayers”   Provenzano said.

“The City of Sault Ste. Marie is pleased that a new and revitalized connecting link program is being established,” said Christian Provenzano, Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie. “We have the single largest connecting link in the province. The funds provided through the program will allow us to make further improvements and will help ensure the efficient movement of highway traffic through our city. We appreciate the Province’s ongoing support.”

Orazietti with Gravelle and DelDuca and Provenzano
Orazietti with Gravelle and DelDuca and Provenzano

The Ontario government is committing $15 million annually to the new Connecting Links program, which will help municipalities pay for construction and repairs for connecting links. Funding will be available beginning in Spring 2016.

Don Elliot, Commissioner of Engineering indicated an application would be forth coming to help with connecting link projects such as Black road from Second Line south to McNabb.

“That’s our highest priority” Elliot said. Elliot estimates the ask will be in the $5million range.

The province will consult with key municipalities to ensure the revamped program meets their unique needs. It will be designed to complement the $100 million Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, which recently provided $2 million in funding to expand Second Line road and last year provided over $3.1 million in funding for the replacement of four aging single-lane bridges.

Together, these programs will continue to drive asset management planning and evidence-based infrastructure prioritization at the local level.

“The government is creating jobs and increasing connectivity across our province,” said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation. “These highways are essential links in many communities, they carry our loved ones, and they carry our economy. This is further proof of our government’s commitment to making travel and quality of life better for Ontario families.”

Strengthening highways across the province is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Since 2003, the province has invested in numerous municipal streets and bridges some of which include:

McNabb Street

South Market Reconstruction

Shannon Road

Third Line East Extension

Turn lane at Second line – Great Northern Road

Great Northern Road

Trunk Road

Wellington Street East

Wellington Street West

Cathcart Street

Huron Street

Bay Street

Lyons Avenue

Korah Road

Second Line West

Queen Street East

Church Street

Carmen’s Way

North and South Root River Bridges

Other Provincial government initiatives supporting transportation infrastructure in Sault Ste. Marie since 2003 include:

·        $24 million Connecting Links funding

·        $11 million new provincial gas tax program

·        $5.6 million Carmen’s Way

·        $3.5 million Third Line extension

·        $3.1 million Rehabilitation of Single Lane Bridges

·        $3.1 million Hub Trail and Waterfront Walkway

·        $3.0 million Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative (MIII) 2008

·        $2.7 million Canada Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF)

·        $2.4 million Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF)

·        $2 million Small Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund –Second Line Corridor