The Official Opposition is urging the Higgs Government to immediately access as much federal infrastructure funding as possible now that the Federal Government has modified the agreement to make more of the funding applicable to roads and bridges.
“There is absolutely no reason why the Higgs Government could not access the majority, if not all of the funds, by the deadline” says Official Opposition Leader Roger Melanson. “There were already plenty of infrastructure projects that could have benefitted from these funds in recent years, but the Premier chose not to invest. Ottawa has again tried to accommodate us, now the province must step up, they have no more excuses!”
With less than a year to allocate the hundreds of millions of dollars, the Official Opposition suggests an influx of investment towards improving road conditions and advancing the scheduled repairs, maintenance, and replacement of bridges across the province.
“The infrastructure projects underway when the Higgs government was first elected were either cancelled or slowed way down. The Miramichi bridges have been under construction for years, the plans for Route 11 were changed drastically reduced and only small improvements are being made, even replacing the Shippagan-Lamèque bridge was deemed unnecessary,” said Melanson. “But these projects will only become more expensive the longer we wait to address them. The money is there now, accelerate the ongoing projects, give Shippagan-Lamèque a new bridge, invest across the province to fix the terrible conditions of our roads!”
The interim Liberal Leader encourages the Premier to look at this as an opportunity for economic development. “Investing into infrastructure is a great way of stimulating the economy through job creation. If the needs of New Brunswickers aren’t enough to motivate the Premier to invest in infrastructure, maybe he should look at it through the lens of economic development.”