Joint support of the Manitoba-Nunavut Route Selection Study was announced yesterday by Nancy Karetak-Lindell, Member of Parliament, on behalf of Transport Minister David Collenette, together with the Honourable Peter Kilabuk, Nunavut Minister of Community Government & Transportation, the Honourable Ron Lemieux, Manitoba Minister of Transportation and Government Services, and Tongola Sandy, President of the Kivalliq Inuit Association. “This study is an important first step in the possible development of road infrastructure in Nunavut,” said Ms. Karetak-Lindell. “The results of this study could potentially provide great benefits to communities, visitors, and trade in the territory by linking Nunavut by road with the rest of Canada.” The Manitoba-Nunavut Route Selection Study will develop criteria to evaluate potential Nunavut-Manitoba road corridors and will result in the selection of the best route for possible development. The study will include a series of public consultations along with socio-economic and preliminary environmental reviews. It will look at a winter road for the initial link, a much less costly initiative than an all-weather road. The study’s estimated cost is $1.1 million and will be cost shared among Transport Canada ($125,000), Indian and Northern Affairs Canada ($500,000 previously announced), the Province of Manitoba ($250,000), the Government of Nunavut ($125,000), and the Kivalliq Inuit Association ($100,000). “Manitoba and Nunavut have a close working relationship, which will only be enhanced by this road development between the two jurisdictions,” Lemieux said. “As the first step to road development, this study will provide the information we need to make an informed decision on the future location of a route.” “The Government of Nunavut welcomes this decision by Transport Canada,” said Minister Kilabuk. “We view the proposed road to southern Canada as a means to develop our economic and social systems and make the lives of Nunavummiut better and provide a better future for their children.” “It has taken two years to get to this point,” said Tongola Sandy, President of the Kivalliq Inuit Association, “and we’re both relieved and excited that we can now move forward with plans to provide our membership with road access to Manitoba.” “I am pleased that funds from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program are being used for the Manitoba-Nunavut Route Selection Study,” said Mr. Collenette. “Nunavut faces distinct challenges in providing safe and efficient transportation and this study may be a step in broadening Nunavut’s transportation infrastructure base.” Under the SHIP agreement, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut are providing joint funding of $6.7 million until March 2007 for capital investments in air, surface, and marine infrastructure in the territory. The Canada/Nunavut SHIP agreement, signed October 22, 2002 is part of the national $600 million SHIP program announced by Mr. Collenette in April 2001. A component of the program allows for feasibility studies, such as the one announced today. Federal funding for this project is built into the existing financial framework.