Edmundston mayor to push politicians for new highway

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EDMUNDSTON, N.B. — A federal review of the country’s highways is sparking new hope that a deadly stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway between New Brunswick and Rivire-du-Loup, Que., will be fixed.

The standing committee on transport has launched hearings into the status of Canada’s highway infrastructure, and Edmundston Mayor Jacques Martin is among the list of witnesses invited to speak.

Initially established to help advise federal Finance Minister John Manley draft his budget, the federal committee is now using the hearings to consider a report on gaps in the country’s highways.

Martin says that review should reach the same conclusion that some trucking associations have in terming Route 185 between Rivire-du-Loup and the New Brunswick-Quebec border the most treacherous part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Martin says it’s time federal politicians realized that the main gateway to Atlantic Canada deserves some of the same kind of money being spent to promote the region as a tourism destination.

Atlantic Canada, however, is often an afterthought to the hefty investments being made in Central Canada, Martin says.

Federal Transport Minister, David Collenette, repeated his argument Monday that it is up to the province of Quebec to determine its priorities before Ottawa will commit to a highway project that could reach $600 million.

“We have infrastructure money and there’s even more that has come forward (in the federal budget earlier this month)” Collenette says. “I’m sure that will be something that will be discussed with the province of Quebec, if it’s their priority.”

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