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August 28, 2006
(Transportation and Works)

Atlantic Transportation meetings successful

John Hickey, Minister of Transportation and Works and Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs, says regional cooperation was the theme of the recent Atlantic Transportation Ministers Conference in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

"I am elated with the support I garnered from my colleagues after my presentation to the ministers and their officials," said Minister Hickey.

Minister Hickey met with his counterparts in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick late last week and they discussed issues including a regional approach to long-term federal transportation funding and the possible formation of an Atlantic transportation strategy.

"We also spoke about the importance of having viable transportation systems in the entire region, since our systems are linked," said Minister Hickey. "Our goods are shipped through their transportation system and their goods are shipped through ours.

"Matters relating to the viability of small airports were also on the agenda. We were particularly interested in this discussion given the number of small airports in Newfoundland and Labrador."

Minister Hickey was also pleased to note he has the support of his colleagues in the three other Atlantic Provinces for the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway. "An agreement with the federal government on the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway is now supported by Atlantic Canada and this will be articulated to the federal government as we lobby for their continued support of this essential transportation link."

Various transportation issues of regional and national significance were discussed and Minister Hickey took the opportunity to put some focus on the Labrador region.

"I briefed my Atlantic colleagues on the resource potential in Labrador in areas related to mining, tourism, hydro electricity and the military capabilities of 5-Wing Goose Bay and was well received," said Minister Hickey.

The conference enabled Atlantic Canadian officials to prepare for national meetings of transportation ministers, September 17-20 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

"These meetings in Nova Scotia will help Atlantic Canada provide a united front as we bring forward our goal of an optimum regional transportation network," concluded Minister Hickey.

Media contact: David Salter, Communications, (709) 729-3015, 691-3577

2006 08 28       2:10 p.m.

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