Eddie Joyce, Opposition Transportation and Works Critic and MHA for the
District of Bay of Islands, says he is disappointed that funding to re-open
the 13 closed transportation depots was not included in today’s budget.
Last year, government announced that it was closing 13 highways depots
across the province during the summer months in an effort to save money.
Since this announcement, preventative maintenance programs have suffered and
laid off employees have indicated that winter maintenance equipment has not
been ready early in the winter season to carry out their snowclearing and
ice control duties.
"I was very surprised to discover that government will not be opening the
13 highways depots this year," said Mr. Joyce. "After seeing the negative
impact this decision had on equipment and summer preventative maintenance
last year, I was fully expecting government to rectify this error.
Unfortunately, we will have to go through another season of problems before
government realizes their mistake.
"By neglecting the summer maintenance program, I fear government will end
up spending more in the long-term. These activities maintain road
infrastructure and ensure our highways are in better shape throughout the
year. Depot employees have advised me that more money will eventually have
to be invested to fix these developing problems. Keeping these depots closed
will lead to a more costly investment in the future.
"Today’s budget was another missed opportunity to fix a mistake created
by this government. I encourage the Minister of Transportation and Works
reconsider this decision and re-open the 13 highways depots in the