Province told to lineup for cash

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FREDERICTON, N.B. — New Brunswick has been told they should, “join the lineup” for more money from Ottawa to twin the Trans-Canada Highway through the province.

The curt remarks came from federal transport minister David Collenette. He suggests it’s surprising Premier Bernard Lord now wants help with a proposed eight-year $400-million construction program.

“He should have had his minister raise it the other week when we met,” says Collenette of his meeting with his provincial counterparts last month.

Officials in his department say negotiations are underway between Ottawa and New Brunswick regarding the $600-million Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program that has $14.6 million earmarked for the province.

“We have a program right now,” Collenette adds, “but whether more money will be put into it, who knows?”

Lord used the official opening of the $910-million Fredericton-Moncton highway Tuesday to announce his government will spend $150 million over the next two years to twin about 60 more kilometres of the Trans-Canada. This will include tapping the $75 million left in a federal-provincial agreement on highway construction that expires in three years.

Although, Lord says another $400 million will be needed to twin the final 130 km of Trans-Canada Highway through the Upper St. John River Valley within eight years, and is counting on Ottawa to relieve some of the financial burden with a five-year extension.

“It’s called the Trans-Canada Highway, not the Trans-New Brunswick Highway,” Lord says.

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