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Canadian government officials late last week announced the contribution of federal funding to support a new bureau that will oversee the reconstruction of the city of Lac-Megantic, Quebec.The financial assistance will be administered by the Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED). The amount announced last week totals $1,965,000 (in Canadian dollars) in the form of a nonrefundable contribution under the City Reconstruction Projects of the Economic Recovery Initiative for Lac-Megantic (ERILM), CED and Transport Canada officials said in a press release.The purpose of the new bureau will be to support the reconstruction of downtown Lac-Megantic and the city's economic development over the next three years. The downtown area was destroyed on July 6, 2013, when a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the city, killing 47 people.The ERILM has a total budget of $35 million, as announced in December 2013. Since July 2013, more than $155 million has been disbursed by the government to help the city and local businesses and organizations. The Lac-Megantic derailment also led to efforts by the Canadian and U.S. governments to tighten railroad industry regulations involving trains that transport crude oil and other hazardous materials."As a Quebecker, this tragedy affected me deeply, and as minister of Transport, I will continue to take the lessons learned here and work to strengthen rail safety and prevent similar accidents from happening again," Marc Garneau said in a prepared statement issued at last week's announcement regarding the creation of the new bureau.
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