Kenora MP Eric Melillo is pushing for action to twin the Trans-Canada Highway, as the project has seen an over 10-year delay since its announcement. Shovels are expected in the ground this spring, and Melillo says he wants to make sure the federal government is paying their share.

His question also urges to government to commit to a previously-agreed upon funding formula, which sees the costs split evenly between the feds and the province. The government now has 45 days to respond.

“The Highway 17 twinning is an essential project for my riding and requires support from all levels of government,” Melillo stated. “I will continue to put pressure on the federal government to contribute their share.”

When the project was announced close to a decade ago, the federal and provincial governments each set aside $50 million for the project. The funds were announced by former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Greg Rickford – while he was a federal MP for the Kenora riding.

The initial $100 million announced in 2009 was spent on twinning a highway east of Thunder Bay, due to a lack of action on the local twinning project. The Ontario Conservatives put funding back in for the project in their 2019 Spring Budget.

In January, in his Maiden Speech in the House of Commons, Melillo called on all levels of government to commit funding, deeming the dangerous highway conditions “a national issue.”

“When there is a crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in my riding, our entire economy shuts down and our country is literally split into two,” Melillo said in the speech

The twinning of the Trans-Canada from Kenora to the Manitoba border is expected to be done in three sections:

- Section #1:  Between the Manitoba - Ontario Border and Hwy. 673
- Section #2:  Between Hwy. 673 and Rush Bay Road
- Section #3:  Between Rush Bay Road and Hwy. 17A

First Nation chiefs from Wash Bay, Shoal Lake 40, Dalles and Rat Portage signed an agreement in 2018, saying they're working together to protect their traditional lands. The communities signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ontario with Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney and Rickford earlier this month.

Order Paper Questions are a mechanism for MP’s to seek detailed information from the government, enabling the relevant Ministry to provide lengthier or more technical responses than a verbal answer would permit. Once an Order Paper Question has been submitted, the government has 45 days to respond.

For more information:
Twinning Trans-Canada a step closer
Melillo's first speech talks about twinning