March 21, 2002
(Works, Services and Transportation)

Completion of Phase III Trans Labrador Highway

Works, Services and Transportation Minister Percy Barrett announced today government will construct Phase III of the Trans Labrador Highway.

"By the end of 2002-2003, Phase I and Phase II of the Trans Labrador Highway will be completed. The province received funding from the federal government in return for assuming responsibility for the operation of Labrador marine services. With that funding, the province agreed to complete Phases I and II, to undertake other Labrador transportation initiatives and to operate the ferry service to coastal Labrador. Government has honoured its commitment to the people of Labrador regarding these funds," said Minister Barrett.

Additional funds will be allocated to complete Phase III from Cartwright to Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The estimated cost of completing Phase III is $100 million.

"The Trans Labrador Highway is vital to the economic and social growth of all of Labrador," said Minister Barrett. "Our provincial economy relies heavily on construction activity in the province. In the absence of additional federal funding for roads, the expenditure for roads in 2003-2004 will be approximately $36 million, a drop of $64 million compared to the average over the past 10 years. The Roads for Rails funding will be depleted in 2002-2003 and Phase I and Phase II of the Trans Labrador Highway will be completed. Clearly, government cannot accept, or live with, such a severe reduction in the commitment to provincial roads in the province."

"Therefore, the province feels it is fiscally and economically prudent to commit $17 million per year over six years to complete Phase III of the Trans Labrador Highway. The commitment is not contingent on federal funding. Discussions have already taken place with the federal government but we have not yet received a favourable response. The opportunity for federal participation still exists and we call upon the federal government to give this project the priority it deserves," said Minister Barrett.

Government has a process agreement in place with the Innu Nation for Phase III route selection and the identification of the Innu environmental/land concerns. Construction should commence when the Environmental Impact Assessment is complete, as early as 2003-2004.

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

2002 03 21                            3:30 p.m.

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