More money on the way for TCH

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The final portions of the Trans-Canada Highway might finally see twinning as New Brunswick is poised to sign a $29-million highway deal.

On Wednesday, New Brunswick Transportation Minister Percy Mockler waited on a call from the federal government to finalize the list of projects to be funded with the $29.2-million available through the joint federal-provincial Strategic Highway Improvement Program.

“I have not received any confirmation, but I am hopeful that within the next day or so it will be confirmed for me,” says Mockler.

The money would be used to finance access ramps and other improvements along the national highway.

There are also suggestions that the Florenceville Exchange and the Victoria access in Edmunston are among the projects slated for the spending. As well, there would be money for work between Kings Landing and Longs Creek and the existing Lockhart Mill Road intersection in Woodstock.

Federal Transportation Minister David Collenette reportedly told at least one New Brunswick Liberal MP Wednesday that an agreement is “imminent.”

“This is another stepping stone to building roads in New Brunswick,” says Liberal MP Andy Savoy (Tobique-Mactaquac)

Although the new projects are important, the deal would also go a long way to extinguish the main irritant between Ottawa and Fredericton in trying to reach a deal on the estimated $420-million cost to complete the twinning of New Brunswick’s portion of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Ottawa has insisted it’s willing to sign a deal based on a 50-50 cost-sharing formula while New Brunswick has been seeking an 80-per-cent federal contribution.

Mockler told local media the province remains “100 per cent committed to making the twinning happen.”

“We are ready to go to the table anytime,” says Mockler.

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