Feds chip in to help fix Saskatchewan highways
REGINA, Sask. – While everyone seems to agree that Saskatchewan’s highways are in a state of disrepair, some help is on the way thanks to a recent $18.5 million handout from Ottawa.
Just days after a government tour by the Hwy. 51 Action Committee, Saskatchewan’s Federal Cabinet Minister, Ralph Goodale appeared in Regina with chequebook in hand.
He was there to announce the $37 million joint agreement between the federal and provincial governments – part of the $600 million Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP) announced by Transport Minister David Collenette in April.
“This new SHIP funding augments federal funding for the improvement of Saskatchewan’s roads and highways, over the past few years, to more than $263 million,” boasts Goodale. “And in a big, rural province like this one, that kind of support is crucial for economic development reasons, as well as public safety.”
While any government spending on roads is welcomed, it appears that Hwy. 51 will once again be overlooked when it comes time to fire up the steamrollers.
A significant chunk of the funding is already earmarked for improvements to Hwy. 16. There is still some hope, however, as Transport Canada and the provincial government are currently reviewing a list of other projects that could receive funding under the program.
Former Transportation Minister Pat Atkinson, says the money will be well-spent. “Our difficulty is that we have more kilometres of road than anywhere else, including Alberta,” says Atkinson.
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