Feds may twin TCH as Chretien’s “legacy” (July 19, 2002)

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway from coast-to-coast could become a reality if Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s Cabinet gets its wish.

Chretien’s advisers have suggested twinning the TCH right across the country, a move that would serve as his legacy.

Herb Dhaliwal, Natural Resources Minister of Canada, says Chretien likes the idea of a “superhighway” spanning the entire country, as it would help the nation’s productivity.

“It would be a great project to have a double-lane highway from one end of the country to another,” says Dhaliwal. “It would be a great legacy for the Prime Minister. There would be a lot of support across the country for it.”

The project won’t come cheap, however, with estimates ranging from $10 billion to $15 billion to twin the single-lane stretches of highway. Dhaliwal says tolls or a dedicated fuel tax could be implemented to help fund the project, should it get the green light.

Not everyone was quick to support the idea, however. Harry Gow of Transport 2000 Canada says, “This would be an enormous expense. Four lanes across Newfoundland, for example, strikes me as a little bit of overkill.”

Instead, Gow suggests building six-lane highways at the entrance to major cities and strategically adding to highways that are in the most need of a facelift.

“The idea of some kind of transportation initiative to memorialize Jean Chretien and his administration might well be a good idea, but I don’t think four-laning the Trans-Canada Highway on an indiscriminate basis across the country makes any more sense than building a moose pasture in downtown Toronto,” Gow adds.

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