New Brunswick opens talks to remove tolls on Fredericton-Moncton highway

FREDERICTON (Aug. 9, 1999) — Representatives of New Brunswick’s finance and transport departments last week opened formal negotiations to remove tolls from the four-lane highway under construction between Fredericton and Moncton.

Tolls on the 195-kilometre route, a large portion of which is still under construction, are expected to raise $22 million a year for the builder, Maritime Road Development Corp., under a private-public partnership. The consortium of companies has a 30-year lease with the province to operate the highway, for which there are no viable alternate routes.

Premier Bernard Lord, elected in June, campaigned on a promise to remove the tolls from the Fredericton-Moncton Highway within 200 days of taking power, or the end of the year.

“This is a complex agreement and it may take numerous meetings between the government and representatives from the MRDC,” said Finance Minister Norman Betts, who said the government would not comment on the negotiation until they have ended. “I cannot state a date for such an announcement, but I can assure you it will be within our time frame of 200 days,” Betts said.

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