Canada’s federal government will provide $4,554,100 to improve safety at 39 railway crossings across Canada. Since 1994, Transport Canada has contributed $55.2 million to 601 projects across Canada.
“Although accident rates and crossing fatalities across Canada have reached their lowest levels in ten years, accidents at railway crossings resulted in 33 fatalities and 33 injuries across the country last year. This financial assistance will help communities and railways improve the safety of railway crossings in Canada,” said Mr. Collenette.
Transport Canada supports two other initiatives to improve safety at railway crossings: ‘Operation Lifesaver’, a public education program of the Railway Association of Canada that has promoted safety at railway crossings since 1981, and Direction 2006, a partnership of governments, railway companies and their unions working to reduce collisions and trespassing incidents by 50 per cent by the year 2006.
Funding for this project was provided for in the February 2000 budget and is therefore built into the existing financial framework. Under Transport Canada’s grade crossing improvement program, eligible railway crossings are either upgraded, relocated or closed. Improvements may include the installation of flashing lights and gates, the addition of gates or extra lights to existing systems, the interconnection of crossing signals to nearby traffic lights, the modification of operating circuits, or the addition of new circuits or timing devices. The department finances up to 80 per cent of the total cost of the improvements, with the balance provided by the railways, municipalities or provinces.