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Minister wants Feds to fund rural roads

REGINA, Sask. - Highways and Transportation Minister Maynard Sonntag moved an emergency motion last month in the Saskatchewan Legislature calling on the federal government to immediately provide more ...


REGINA, Sask. – Highways and Transportation Minister Maynard Sonntag moved an emergency motion last month in the Saskatchewan Legislature calling on the federal government to immediately provide more funding to relieve increased pressures on Saskatchewan’s rural road system due to accelerated consolidation of the grain handling and transportation system.

Rationalization of the Saskatchewan grain collection system is estimated to increase road impact costs by up to $85 million annually. Ottawa has committed to provide about $21 million per year over the next five years for road impacts due to grain haul.

“That $21 million per year from the federal government does not begin to address the impact on our roads,” Sonntag said. “We recognize excess capacity exists in the grain handling industry and that some consolidation must occur. The accelerated rate of consolidation is our concern, rural people have already seen the impacts on their roads.

“We have worked very hard in the last two and a half years through the Estey Review and then the Kroeger Process to effect reform in the grain handling system.,” Sonntag added. “We have a good start in Bill C-34 but rural Saskatchewan cannot continue to shoulder the full cost of this rationalization. We need changes that improve performance. New approaches are needed to move the grain system forward so our farmers have the infrastructure needed to get their products to market.” n


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