Transportation and Works
October 24, 2008
Fraser Institute Report Regarding Provincial Transportation System Flawed
The Honourable Dianne Whalen, Minister of Transportation and Works, is taking exception to a recent report by the Fraser Institute that levied heavy criticism at the province�s transportation system.
"This report is an interesting academic exercise but of absolutely no value in guiding the development of transportation policy or establishing infrastructure priorities," said Minister Whalen.
The report, based primarily on a review of existing literature, assesses transportation performance of all Canadian provinces on 23 specific measures. Minister Whalen points out that on many of these criteria, Newfoundland and Labrador ranked very favourably. Some of these include:
Ranked first in the country on port operating
"In many respects, the criteria in which the province fared poorly are more a function of our geography and population base," said Minister Whalen. "It is certainly not a reflection of the quality and efficiency of our provincial transportation network."
Minister Whalen added when it comes to investing in transportation, the Williams Government is unparalleled in the province�s history.
"The Williams Government is extremely proud of our record investments in our transportation network," said Minister Whalen. "For instance, in this year�s budget we invested $375 million in transportation infrastructure improvements, including $73 million for the Provincial Roads Improvement Program, $50.5 million for two new intra-provincial ferries and $1.6 million for Phase ll of our ferry-rate reductions. We obviously feel quite comfortable in what we are doing to address our province�s transportation needs and won�t be taking any direction from this report."
"Quite aside from these rankings, while the Provincial Government is doing our utmost to improve our transportation networks, the Federal Government must bear some responsibility for the state of our transportation network. For instance, while the Roads for Rails Agreement, in which we lost our provincial railway, did provide significant capital infrastructure, most importantly there were no provisions for ongoing maintenance thereafter. Marine Atlantic continues to be problematic for customers, with high fees and inefficient and undependable service. We have also been burdened with having to depend on air access that has been less than ideal. Despite these disadvantages, we persevere."
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2008 10 24 3:20 p.m.
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