February 2, 2007

New legislation will allow federal government to oversee international bridges and tunnels

Ottawa, Ontario – The federal government announced that the International Bridges and Tunnels Act, formerly known as Bill C-3, received Royal Assent. This legislation will provide the federal government with the legislative authority to ensure effective oversight of the existing 24 international vehicular bridges and tunnels and nine international railway bridges and tunnels, as well as any new international bridges or tunnels built in the future.

Jurisdiction for international bridges and tunnels was assigned to the federal government under the Constitution Act, 1867. Despite this, no clear authority existed to regulate matters concerning approvals for the construction of new, or the alteration of existing, bridges or tunnels; approvals for changes in ownership, operation or control; and issues concerning maintenance, operations, safety and security. In the past, most international bridges and tunnels were built only after a special act of Parliament was enacted.

“This legislation will help us ensure that these bridges and tunnels continue to be safe and well-maintained, security plans are put in place and that this country?s vital trade links are preserved,” said the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. “It will also provide the federal government with the powers to grant approval to build new international bridges and tunnels, to alter existing bridges and tunnels and impose necessary terms and conditions to protect the public interest.”

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