December 12, 2005
(Transportation and Works)

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

I rise to inform this House that government is today prepared to pledge an additional $50 million over five years for the Trans-Labrador Highway to reach a cost-sharing agreement that would see the federal government match this contribution.

The total cost of surfacing the Trans-Labrador Highway from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Labrador City is estimated at about $100 million. We have written the federal government requesting a commitment for a 50/50 cost-sharing agreement to have this work completed over five years.

Key to the economic progress of Labrador is the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway. The premier has written each of the federal leaders seeking their position on a number of issues important to Newfoundland and Labrador in this election campaign, including whether they would support a federal-provincial cost-shared agreement to complete the Trans-Labrador Highway.

The Council of the Federation recently released the national transportation strategy - Looking to the Future: A Plan for Investing in Canada�s Transportation System. The strategy proposes a new transportation funding partnership between provinces, territories and the federal government.

We believe an early commitment to cost-share surfacing the Trans-Labrador Highway would be a firm indication of federal government�s endorsement of the national strategy. This is an ideal opportunity for the federal government to signal its support for completion of this vital transportation link in Labrador.

The provincial government was recently successful in having the Trans-Labrador Highway and several other roads in the province added to the National Highway System. As a result, this province now has 2,469 kilometres of road designated as part of the National Highway System, up from the previous 955 kilometres.

A new funding arrangement with the federal government is essential if this expanded road network is to be upgraded and maintained at national standards. Federal concurrence to add more roads to the National Highway System is just talk unless it is accompanied by a renewed commitment to funding. The province will be calling upon whichever party forms the next government to make this commitment to Labrador.

2005 12 12        2:00 p.m.


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