N.S. PUMPS $49 MILLION INTO ROADS, BRIDGES

HALIFAX, N.S. — The Hamm government of Nova Scotia has budgeted a total of $49 million, including $11 million in new money, for the funding of road and bridge work in the province.

The news came as the Conservative government handed down its $5.2 billion 2001-2002 budget yesterday. As part of its message, the government noted the Department of Transportation and Public Works has identified almost 11,000 kilometres of 100-series and secondary highways that need work.

It pegs the price tag of bringing these roads up to “acceptable standards” at $3.4 billion, and has pledged to do the work over the next 10 years. This includes $560 million just for replacing and fixing bridges, $1 billion for twinning and expanding primary and secondary highways, and $1.4 billion for improving existing primary and secondary highways.

The remainder is required for “badly needed” paving and upgrading of rural and local roads, the government said.

The Nova Scotia government said it recognizes the severity and the enormity of this problem, but admitted the $49 million slated for this year falls far short of the $340 million that is required over each of the next 10 years.

The $11 million is part of a three-year plan to fulfill government’s commitment to increase funding for road construction by $31 million, it said. It adds it also wants the federal government to fund a fair and appropriate share of highway construction.

Nova Scotia is expected to receive $2.5 million from Ottawa in 2002 to assist with highways. Nova Scotia has also set aside $5 million in capital funding in this fiscal year to begin the twinning of Hwy. 101 if federal cost-shared dollars become available.

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