Transportation and Works
May 15, 2008

The following statement was issued by the Honourable Dianne Whalen, Minister of Transportation and Works. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

Provincial Roads Improvement Program

I rise in this Honourable House today to provide an update on our government�s history-making, 2008-09 Provincial Roads Improvement Program.

In January, this government unveiled our province�s largest roads improvement program ever, investing $73 million to revitalize roads, bridges and related infrastructure. This program will create an estimated 1,400 person years of employment. We officially launched the Provincial Roads Improvement Program on February 20 by providing almost $2.5 million in the district of The Isles of Notre Dame and have since completed our allotments by announcing the funding in 39 other parts of the province. We have currently issued or awarded tenders for close to 60 per cent of the program � totalling $42 million � and plan to have most projects tendered or awarded by the end of May, significantly earlier than before. Of course, getting this early start allows construction work to begin months ahead of previous programs. This bold approach has been embraced by industry leaders such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Road Builders/Heavy Civil Association.

Among the projects slated for the $73 million, 2008-09 Provincial Roads Improvement Program is $14 million for bridge construction and rehabilitation and $6 million to repair wheel rutting on the Trans Canada Highway.

It gets even better. When cost-shared work such as the Trans Labrador Highway is factored in, the total investment in provincial road infrastructure in 2008-09 jumps to $182 million. In regards to the Trans Labrador Highway, this government will invest $17 million for construction of Phase III of the highway and cost-share $45 million with the Federal Government for widening and hard-surfacing of Phase I. After going it alone last summer, the Provincial Government continued to lobby the Federal Government to cost-share widening and hard-surfacing of the Trans Labrador Highway and our aggressive approach paid off when the Federal Government finally came on board this past December.

The unprecedented Provincial Roads Improvement Program is a key element of this government�s six-year infrastructure strategy, worth over $3 billion. We are in the third year of this plan that is expected to generate an average of 6,500 person years of employment each year. And as outlined in the Provincial Government�s original Blueprint, strategic, long-term infrastructure investment will foster regional development, employment and a vibrant economy. Our investment in infrastructure is supporting the business, trade and tourism industries and continues to lead the way to a better standard of living for everyone in the province.

2008 05 15                                                1:45 p.m.


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