Monday, April 30, 2007

The Road Not Taken

There were many positive points in the NL 2007 budget, including a $55 million Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador. This included $8.8 million for new schools in Port Hope Simpson and Sheshatshiu. Great news. However, with the surplus of $261 million it would have been fair to pledge more funds to the completion of the Trans Labrador Highway. This top infrastructure priority has been given fewer dollars than was expected and announced. While waiting for the feds to contribute whatever amount they will, an extra infusion from the budget surplus could accelerate this project in the meantime. There is a major gap (phase III) separating phase I on the west part of Labrador to phase II from the Labrador coast to inland. With the completion of the TLH the tourism and business possibilities will rise, not to mention convenience for Labrador travelers.

The NL government announced on Jan. 11 that $150 Million will be targeted for the province’s roads. But only

  • $17 million for ongoing construction of Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway;
    This is a lower amount than was first announced in 2005 by the NL government.

  • $15 million to commence hard-surfacing of Phase I of the Trans-Labrador Highway – subject to cost-sharing with the federal government;

    Unfortunately, the federal government has not exactly provided funds yet for this. It is still pending according to the federal Minister of Transportation representative, see Norman Andrews' blog of letter from Lisa Berthier, Atlantic Rep of Ministry of Transportation.

    The sooner the TLH is completed, the better for Labrador people, the Labrador economy and the province's as well.

    WJM said...

    Unfortunately, the federal government has not exactly provided funds yet for this.

    The federal government has spent over half a billion on the TLH since the early 1980s.

    When is the province going to "cost share" THAT amount?

    kodak said...

    I suspect you have already asked this to the NL gov. itself. If so, what's the response been?

    WJM said...

    If so, what's the response been?