NEWS

B.C. NDP skeptical about commitment to expand Trans-Canada

10/02/2012 05:18 EDT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:12 EST
The opposition is casting doubt on Premier Christy Clark’s promise to expand the Trans-Canada Highway.

"We will accelerate our efforts to complete the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and the Alberta border," the premier told delegates at last week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

Clark said her government will commit $650 million over the next decade and urged the federal government to match the funds.

But as far as NDP MLA Norm Macdonald is concerned, it’s a hollow promise with no details on where the money is coming from.

"We had the minister of finance tell us just a week and a half ago there is no money for these major projects," he said, before characterizing the premier’s commitment as nothing more than electioneering on the part of a desperate government.

Not everyone is as skeptical.

The manager of the Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce in Golden, Ruth Hamilton, called Clark’s announcement "great news for our community."

Hamilton said many visitors to the area are shocked by the state of the national highway.

"Especially from the European countries," she added. "They just can't believe this is part of our Trans-Canada Highway."

A spokesperson for the province’s Ministry of Transportation said $141 million is already allocated in the government’s three-year service plan with another $509 million to be allocated over the next 10 years.

Projects that will be developed include replacement of the Malakwa and North Fork Bridges west of Revelstoke and expanding the roadway around those bridges to four lanes, as well as expanding the roadway east of Donald, near Golden.

The spokesperson said the remaining projects will be identified through consultations with communities and stakeholders.

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