Moncton’s highway funding shortchanged

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MONCTON, N.B. — Moncton received less provincial funding than it was looking for to upkeep provincially designated highways within the city.

Moncton was initially proposing $1.3 million worth of upgrades this year to six provincially designated highways, with the expectation that half the money would come from the province.

Under the Designated Highways Road Improvement Program, the provincial government usually matches the city’s contribution.

Moncton was asking the province for $650,000. It received $210,000. As a result, the city has deferred two of the proposed projects and scaled back a third.

“This is downloading on us by the province of New Brunswick,” Coun. George LeBlanc said. “The problem is that provincially designated highways are the province’s responsibility.”

He said in an effort to help upkeep the highways, the city had agreed to split the costs with the province 50-50. But, LeBlanc said, “it’s gotten to the point where our contribution is greater than the province’s contribution.”

LeBlanc even suggested the city should freeze the money it spends on provincially designated highways.

While concerned about funding levels from the provincial government, other councillors supported the motion so designated highways within the city could get at least undergo some of the much needed upgrades.

“I voted for the motion because we wouldn’t have got a lot of work done and I don’t think the citizens would be very happy,” Coun. Kathryn Barnes said. “Certainly, as a city councillor, I am concerned that we don’t appear to be getting our fair share of money to upkeep the designated highways in our community,” she said. “I think most of the province will say that.”

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