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YELLOWKNIFE (March 20, 2017) – Minister of Finance, Robert C. McLeod announced today that the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has begun the formal procurement process for the Tłı̨chǫ All Season Road (TASR) by releasing the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an all-season road to Whatì. The RFQ is the first stage in a competitive selection process to procure the TASR through a Public-Private Partnership (P3) in accordance with the GNWT’s Public- Private Partnership Policy.  The RFQ invites interested parties to submit responses indicating their interest in, and qualifications for, the TASR project.  This includes an assessment on the technical and financial capacity to undertake the project.  Based on the responses to the RFQ, the GNWT intends to select a shortlist of up to three proponents to be invited to participate in the next stage of the procurement process, the Request for Proposals stage, pending a decision on the environmental assessment for the project. To ensure that interested parties have a full and complete understanding of the P3 process and the project, and are able to provide their best submissions of qualifications for the project, the GNWT will hold a Project Information Session (Industry Day) on March 29, 2017, at the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife. Quotes “Construction of the Tłı̨chǫ All Season Road is a priority of the 18th Legislative Assembly.  The project is a critical piece of infrastructure that will result in significant benefits for the Tłı̨chǫ region and facilitate growth for the NWT economy.”-Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Finance “In addition to resulting in a lower cost of living in the area, and responding to ever increasing challenges generated by climate change, this project also has the potential to create a solid, reliable job market for our residents.”-Wally Schumann, Minister of Transportation Quick Facts The project is comprised of the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of a 97km all-season gravel highway from kilometer 196 of Highway 3 to the community of Whatì. Related Links Public Private Partnership Policy   Media inquiries:Charlotte DignessMedia and Communications CoordinatorDepartment of ExecutiveGovernment of the Northwest TerritoriesTel: (867) 767-9140 ext. 11092E-mail: charlotte_digness@gov.nt.ca
YELLOWKNIFE (March 8, 2017) – The Department of Transportation (DOT) would like to announce the release of the 2015 Northwest Territories Traffic Collision Facts, as well as the 2015/2016 Annual Report of Registrar of Motor Vehicles. 2015 Northwest Territories Traffic Collision Facts contains information on various issues, such as impaired driving, speeding, young and old drivers, and the use of seat belts. The 2015/2016 Annual Report of Registrar of Motor Vehicles, meanwhile, presents a statistical summary of the vehicle and driver population in the Northwest Territories and a summary of revenue, driver testing activity, convictions and suspensions. To view these documents, please visit http://www.dot.gov.nt.ca/Documents or contact Ioana Spiridonica at 867-767-9082 ext. 31042 or ioana_spiridonica@gov.nt.ca.
Delivered on March 6, 2017 Mr. Speaker, the Department of Infrastructure is committed to working in partnership with Canada to make strategic investments in highway infrastructure. Today, I am pleased to provide an update on our efforts to secure funding for various highway projects across the territory.  In 2015 the Government of the Northwest Territories received federal approval for its first bundle of highway capacity improvement projects submitted under the New Building Canada Plan. The bundle was cost-shared with the federal government who provided $72 million or 75 percent, while the Government of the Northwest Territories provided the remaining $24 million or 25 percent of the total $96 million investment.  As a result, significant upgrades to every highway across the territory and to the Dettah Access Road were achieved. A second bundle of highway capacity improvements projects was approved last June. This time the federal government provided $60.7 million, while the Government of the Northwest Territories provided $20.2 million. The total investment of $80.9 million in funding will allow the Department of Infrastructure to enhance several access roads and bridges that are critical components of the NWT highway system. Projects include upgrades to the Jean Marie River and Nahanni Butte access roads, and the replacement of the James Creek Highway Maintenance Camp. Going forward, a third bundle of projects is being developed and will focus on a second phase of work on NWT highways and major roads in 2018 and 2019. Planning for the third bundle will be done as part of the capital planning process.   Mr. Speaker, these important investments in our transportation infrastructure help us connect communities to new social and employment opportunities, reduce the cost of living in the territory, improve the resiliency of our transportation system to climate change, and increase access to natural resources. In addition to improving the existing highway system, the Government of the Northwest Territories has identified three new NWT transportation corridors projects with strategic significance in its 25-year Transportation Strategy and mandate: the Mackenzie Valley Highway, Tlicho All-season Road, and Slave Geological Province Access Corridor. That is why I am proud to say that last month two federal funding announcements were made supporting the development of new highway infrastructure in the NWT. The first is for the construction of the Canyon Creek Access Road in the Sahtu region, which represents another step toward replacing the existing Mackenzie Valley Winter Road with an all-weather corridor. The project will provide access to granular resources and traditional Sahtu lands, which may be used for recreation, tourism, and business development.   Mr. Speaker, another important milestone was realized earlier this year when the federal government announced conditional funding for the Tłı̨chǫ All-Season Road to Whatì.  The 97 kilometre road will provide year-round access to residents of that community and will also benefit nearby communities by significantly increasing the length of operation of the winter roads to Wekweètì and Gamètì and helping to address a key impact of climate change in this region.  The all-season road will also help reduce the cost of living for residents and support economic development in the region by increasing access to mineral resources and boosting investor confidence. The Department of Infrastructure will continue to look for new opportunities to increase investment in the NWT transportation system in collaboration with our federal counterparts. We expect additional details regarding funding opportunities for trade and transportation corridors may become available with the upcoming Federal Budget. We are prepared to make the most of these opportunities to address our infrastructure deficit and improve transportation services in every region of the territory. Transportation infrastructure improvements result in a variety of economic and social benefits for northerners and all Canadians. Ensuring proper maintenance and upgrades to our highway system increases driver safety and improves our resiliency to climate change. Enhanced intercommunity mobility means new business, employment, educational, and health care opportunities for residents. Finally, improved road access will enable us to unlock the North’s full economic potential by providing better access to natural resources. The Government of the Northwest Territories has made a commitment in its mandate to capture opportunities for investment in transportation infrastructure. We are working to secure funding to advance the Mackenzie Valley Highway and we continue to undertake work to prove up the business case to advance a project that would see improved access into the Slave Geological Province. Our government will stay engaged with Canada on the status of our submissions and on any new developments in funding programs. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Delivered on March 2, 2017 Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made a commitment in its mandate to increase online accessibility to driver and motor vehicle services as well as commercial permitting services. I’d like to tell Members today about work the Department of Transportation has done to fulfill that commitment. Over the past four years, residents and businesses of the Northwest Territories have been able to access a number of secure online driver and motor vehicle services, such as vehicle registration renewals, driver abstracts, driver testing appointment booking, rescheduling, or cancelling, access to commercial permits and much more. Mr. Speaker, more and more people are taking advantage of these online services. I am happy to say there have been over 185,000 online services performed to date. Due to the recent additions, such as commercial vehicle permitting, the use of online services has grown by 90 per cent from a year ago. The Department of Transportation recently completed a successful soft launch of new services for driver licence and general identification card renewals. Residents from the communities of Inuvik, Norman Wells, Tuktoyaktuk, Fort Smith, Hay River and Yellowknife participated in the soft launch by applying online for their driver’s license or NWT identification card. This process allowed the Department of Transportation to work out any issues with the new services beforehand in order to ensure a successful future official launch. We are now ready to roll this service out more broadly, along with online accident reporting and personalized license plates. This will allow residents to access even more services from the comfort of their homes. The new services will reduce the need to travel for people living in communities without a local Driver and Motor Vehicle Office.  The services will also decrease wait times at all offices, making for a more enjoyable client service experience. Businesses, meanwhile, will have online access to commercial fleet management for upgrading or downgrading vehicle weights and self-managing tolling transponders for the Deh Cho Bridge.  Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transportation has budgeted $1.2 million in capital to continue improving online driver and motor vehicle services over this fiscal year, and we continue to pay $350,000 for the program’s operation and maintenance.  The online services have also achieved operational efficiencies, enabling the Department to discontinue services provided by southern contractors, which now saves the GNWT $360,000 annually. Online service delivery is part of our government’s Service Innovation Strategy, which supports effective and efficient government. The Department of Transportation is committed to ensuring these services are accessible for as many residents of the territory as possible under its 25-year Transportation Strategy. I’m proud to say that residents from all NWT communities have now subscribed to online services. The Department has also provided training to community Government Service Officers so they can help Elders and other clients use our online services in their communities.  Our achievements in delivering online motor vehicle services affirms our government as an industry leader among other jurisdictions.  None of these innovations would be possible without the commitment of our staff. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the GNWT employees involved with this project. The Department of Transportation looks forward to continuing the success and improvement of online driver and motor vehicle services to ensure residents get the services they need from anywhere with internet access.   Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  
Delivered on March 1, 2017 Mr. Speaker, the NWT economy needs a boost right now and the Yellowknife Airport is an important instrument of economic diversity. Finding new, proven ways to support and fund improvements and growth at the Airport will help strengthen and diversify the NWT economy and create benefits for all travellers and business that use the Airport. The Department of Transportation is engaged with air carriers, the public, and other key stakeholders, who believe there is an opportunity to improve the Yellowknife Airport to support economic growth and better services. To achieve this, the Department of Transportation is proposing to introduce a new revolving fund framework for the Airport, which would allow it to become financially self-sufficient by funding its own ongoing capital,  operations and maintenance expenditures. Mr. Speaker, the Yellowknife Airport is currently funded through the government’s consolidated revenues, making it another draw on GNWT resources used to fund all its other operations. Meanwhile, traffic at the Airport increased 16 percent from 2011 to 2015 and continues to rise. This additional pressure makes the need for costly improvements even more critical.  The Department of Transportation believes the Airport can use its robust passenger volumes to support itself financially if it were to use a fee system that is in line with other similarly-sized airports in Canada. Moreover, this would shift the financial burden of supporting the Airport away from NWT taxpayers to airport users, more than half of which are non-residents. Mr. Speaker, as outlined in the draft business plan developed for the Yellowknife Airport, the Department of Transportation has a very clear plan of how it would use these fees. All Airport Improvement Fees would go towards making capital improvements while other fees would be used to cover the cost of services provided to users. Input into this business plan was provided by key airport stakeholders who identified the improvements they believe are necessary for a strong and effective airport moving forward. All of the actions identified in the business plan were accompanied by clear timelines for implementation. This plan will ensure the Airport has the financial resources and flexibility it needs to provide enhanced services to travellers and more opportunities for northern businesses. A dedicated source of funding for the Airport means that more resources can be invested into things like increased parking and retail space, helping to attract more business to the Airport and stimulate our economy. Improving the capacity of cargo facilities could benefit industries that rely on the timely and efficient movement of large quantities of goods and material to support their operations. Infrastructure improvements such as upgraded lighting and a central de-icing facility to reduce travel delays would have a direct impact on the ability of airlines to deliver operations and services. Improved security services and expanded holding areas that reduce congestion, along with modern amenities, will improve traveller experience and comfort. It would also allow tourists visiting Yellowknife or connecting to other destinations in the Northwest Territories to take away better first and last impressions of the North. The number of visitors to the Northwest Territories has increased 45 percent over the past five years. While this growth is extremely positive for our tourism industry, it is putting a strain on the Yellowknife Airport, which needs to be upgraded and modestly expanded in the short-term to cope with the pressures. The possibilities for evolving the Airport are many, but without a reliable funding model we cannot make the changes that are necessary for economic development and service growth. The minimal impact increased aeronautical fees would have on the cost of living would be greatly outweighed by the positive economic activity generated by improving the Yellowknife Airport. Already, approximately 1000 people are employed directly through activity at the Airport and there is an opportunity to generate more jobs for Northerners. Mr. Speaker, the time is now to invest in the Yellowknife Airport as an important economic catalyst for our territory. With the support and feedback of residents and stakeholders we can work together to make infrastructure improvements that will attract investment, supporting the addition of more flights, increased passenger numbers, greater cargo volumes, and new business opportunities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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