Politicians form border-crossing alliance (June 01, 2002)

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SAINT JOHN, N.B. – A group of stakeholders trying to ensure a new crossing at the St. Stephen-Calais portal have adopted a name, the Maine-New Brunswick Trade Corridor Committee.

The 20-member group, led by chairman Jim Purcell, met May 6 at the Saint John Regional Library to begin forming a strategy designed to raise the project’s profile.

“We have complete agreement on where the site should be,” says Greg Thompson, New Brunswick Southwest MP.

The group, made up primarily of local politicians and interest groups, wants to see the new crossing not far from the centres of St. Stephen and Calais, up river from the international bridge at Milltown.

Western Charlotte MLA Tony Huntjens plans to set up a meeting with fellow MLAs, New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord and Nova Scotia Transportation Minister Percy Mockler.

The group may have trouble gaining funds from provincial leaders, however. Lord has publicly stated his priority is the completion of a four-lane Trans-Canada Highway.

“Now that we know where we’re going, it should be easier for Fredericton and Augusta to make a decision. Now that we have agreed on location, we need environmental approval.”

A draft report of an environmental assessment has recently been completed by the state of Maine.

Saint John Mayor Shirley McAlary says the new crossing is necessary to alleviate long waits at the border crossing.

“It’s very important to the city because of the truck traffic and tourism. It takes hours for truckers to get across the border,” she says.

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