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February 7, 2001
(Works, Services and Transportation)


More federal attention needed on transportation, province tells national panel

The need for the federal government to place a higher priority on Canada�s transportation infrastructure was the main message the provincial government gave a national transportation panel yesterday. The Canada Transportation Act Review Panel was in St. John�s and met with provincial government officials to discuss transportation issues affecting Newfoundland and Labrador.

In an one-and-a-half hour session, Barbara Wakeham, Deputy Minister of the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, discussed government�s concerns in detail with the panel. Ms. Wakeham focused on the need for the federal government to place more emphasis on the province�s aging infrastructure. Even though the department has discussed the urgency of this matter with the federal government on many occasions, it trusts the panel will raise the level of awareness even more.

"Transportation is the foundation for all other aspects of society. Our transportation system brings people to hospitals and ambulances to people, it brings our children to schools and is the cornerstone of a strong economy. Where would we be as a province, and as a nation, without our transportation system shipping goods in and out of the country?" said Rick Woodford, Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. "Transportation has been neglected by the federal government over the last number of years. If our transportation system continues to deteriorate, all other activities will come to a complete stop. The panel was very receptive to our concerns and we believe they will make a strong case to the federal government on the province�s behalf."

Specific issues addressed by the department included:

  • the province�s urgent need for a national highways program to replace expiring agreements - to include a strategy and funding for physical upgrades, intelligent transportation systems to improve maintenance efforts and efficiencies to trade corridors;
  • the Gulf ferry service;
  • national airport policy and its effect on local airports;
  • the need for an overall Canada-wide transportation policy and investment strategy, similar to those developed by all other G7 countries, to cover highway, rail, marine and air transportation.

Yesterday�s presentation to the panel highlighted aspects of the province�s written proposal submitted to the panel on January 11, 2001. The submission is available at or by calling (709) 729-3637.

The review panel, appointed by federal Transport Minister David Collenette, began a comprehensive review of the Canada Transportation Act on July 1, 2000, and will submit a final report to the minister by July 1, 2001. As part of the review process, the panel is holding consultations in all provinces and territories.

Media contact: Lynn Evans, Communications, (709) 729-3015

2001 02 07                                                               11:55 a.m.

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