FREDERICTON, N.B. — The federal government will have to kick in some major funding before New Brunswick sees all its major highways twinned, says Transportation Minister Margaret-Ann Blaney.
“We’re ready to complete the four-lane Trans-Canada in New Brunswick, but we need Ottawa’s help to finish the job,” Blaney says.
As it stands, rather than having four lanes from Quebec to Nova Scotia, Blaney claims a bottleneck down to two lanes will remain until funding can be secured at the federal level, keeping this stretch of highway dubbed “Suicide Alley.”
Blaney will meet with Transport Minister David Collenette next week in Halifax and believes her logical argument will sway his opinion.
Ottawa collects $4.8 billion in gasoline taxes nationally, and spends $190 million each year on highways, she argues. But in New Brunswick, that means for every dollar it collects in fuel tax, only 10 cents is spent on roadwork. New Brunswick itself, Blaney stresses, spends $1.09 for every dollar collected for roadwork. This is a deficit that can’t continue, she adds.
“Before we can put a shovel in the ground we need two to three years,” she explains. “An environmental assessment can take two years alone. That’s why we’re saying the federal government should be at the table now.”
Blaney says Hwy. 2 is the priority. That means plans to twin the roadway from Woodstock to the Houlton border crossing and Saint John to St. Stephen will be put on hold indefinitely. These projects would cost about $700 million, according to transportation staff.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News