June 2, 1998
(Works, Services and Transportation)

The following statement was issued today by Lloyd Matthews, Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

Transportation Week 1998

Today I would like to take a few moments to remind Honourable Members that this is Transportation Week across Canada. The theme for Transportation Week 1998, "Transportation - Canada's Natural Resource", reflects the importance of transportation infrastructure to our nation's economic growth and development.

Just prior to the start of Transportation Week, I had the opportunity to meet with my federal and provincial counterparts to discuss various issues of concern. One of the key agenda items was the establishment of a national highway policy. The proposed national highway policy identifies the need for federal/provincial partnerships to work towards developing a transportation infrastructure which supports commerce and trade activity throughout Canada. I am pleased to report that discussions on the establishment of a national highway policy were very productive. All ministers endorsed, in principle, the establishment of a broad investment strategy for our highways. All ministers agreed to meet later this year to further pursue this initiative, following a final report on the state, condition and investment needs of the national highway system.

The ministers also discussed safety standards, the need to harmonize regulations governing various aspects of the trucking industry and the development of a transportation component of a national climate change strategy.

The transportation network of highways in Newfoundland and Labrador is an essential part of this province's past, present and future economic growth and development. This year we are seeing just how important this transportation infrastructure is to the province. In this fiscal year, more than $108 million in road construction projects will be tendered, the largest ever road construction program in the history of the province. As of today we have awarded contracts for 38 projects with a dollar value of more than $66 million. This translates into about 660 direct jobs and 462 indirect jobs. Investment in roads also results in decreased travel times and lower maintenance costs.

1998 06 02 2:20 p.m.


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