Wally Andersen, Opposition Transportation and Works Critic
and MHA for the District of Torngat Mountains, says he has been receiving a
lot of complaints about the conditions of highways and secondary roads in
the province and is calling on Minister Tom Rideout to take action.
the past number of weeks, I have received an unusual number of calls from
people all across the province who have serious concerns about the state of
our highways," said Andersen. "Most people have told me that government is
not doing enough to maintain and improve the condition of the Trans Canada
Highway and other roads in their areas.
"Last year there was an increase in the fees for vehicle registration and
licences, yet government is not making any meaningful improvements to our
roads. This year, the Premier has already stated that government will
receive windfall profits from gasoline taxes and offshore oil royalties due
to high prices. It is time that money be put towards fixing the cracks, ruts
and holes in roads all over the province before serious accidents occur."
The Liberal MHA believes the recent closure of maintenance depots and
highway personnel has had a negative impact on the upkeep of roads. "It is
no coincidence that there has been an increase in the number of complaints
about line painting and other road maintenance since layoffs and the closure
of depots has taken effect. These workers provided an essential service to
the people of the province and should be reinstated immediately."
Andersen is also concerned that the condition of roads in the province
will have a further negative impact on the tourism industry. "This will be a
challenging year for tourism due to the high cost of gas. Each year we
receive letters from tourists who complain that our roads are in the worst
condition they have seen in North America. Government must be aware of the
negative impact our roads are having on attracting more tourists to visit
our beautiful communities.
"There is no reason why government should not be spending money to
improve basic highway infrastructure that is essential for the
transportation of consumer goods, tourists and residents of the province.
Government must immediately invest more money so that our highway system
meets basic standards."