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Tory MP dismayed by lack of roads spending requests

ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. -- St. John's West Tory MP, Loyola Hearn, is eager to lobby Ottawa to improve roads around rural...

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. — St. John’s West Tory MP, Loyola Hearn, is eager to lobby Ottawa to improve roads around rural Newfoundland, the only catch is no one else seems to be jumping on the bandwagon.

Hearn recently asked for a copy of the correspondence between the provincial transport department and Ottawa from May 2000 and August of this year. He wanted to examine requests for federal funding to support provincial roadwork projects.

Hearn was particularly curious about correspondence involving roadwork in the Placentia, Cape Shore, St. Mary’s Bay and Southern Shore areas. He says the reply was startling. There was no record of correspondence to any federal government minister or official.

Hearn says with construction season at its peak, he was amazed by the lack of work in his area.

Despite this, Transport Minister, Percy Barrett, describes the roadwork in the province, this summer as “massive,” coming in at roughly $120 million.

The Trans Canada Highway is getting $35 million worth of work, there’s $43 million earmarked for the Trans Labrador Highway, almost another $7 million for coastal Labrador roads, and $22 million for the provincial roads program.

What particularly interest Hearn is the $22 million earmarked for roads around the island portion of the province. Newfoundland actually has $190 million in roadwork requests.

Hearn says he is raising the roadwork issue to heighten awareness in an effort to guilt the provincial government into addressing the problem.

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