News Release Archive

Transportation and Public Works Minister Don Downe is set to ask
the federal government and provincial colleagues to commit to a
renewed national highway improvement program.

Mr. Downe will address transportation ministers at a meeting in
Toronto tomorrow, charged by his Atlantic counterparts to advance
their case for improvements to the national highway

"We need a commitment from the federal government to support
improvements to our highways," said Mr. Downe.

"Transportation infrastructure is the backbone of our economy and
decisions we make to enact a highway improvement strategy have to
be seen as investments in our future. If we don't make this
commitment we can be sure that safety on our highways will also
be compromised."

Mr. Downe said a national highway policy is the most important
item on the agenda for ministers in Toronto. And he's encouraged
that ministers have agreed to his request to move discussion on
this item to the top of the agenda.

"It highlights the priority we place on our highways," Mr. Downe

He said it is also critical that newly appointed federal
Transport Minister David Collenette is made aware of, and deals
with, the issue early in his new mandate.

"We've been talking about a funding program like this for a
decade - it's time for action," said Mr. Downe. "Delays will cost
us jobs, business opportunities and keep tourists away from our

A study done by the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and
Public Works says the province's primary arterial highway network
needs some $800 million invested over the next decade just to
bring its most travelled routes up to standard.

"With the decline in rail service, particularly in the Maritimes,
highways are the prime mover for Atlantic goods and services,"
said Mr. Downe.

"I have confidence that Atlantic Canada can not only survive, but
thrive economically. Our national highway system is an important
part of that equation."


Contact: Don Downe
         Minister of Transportation and Public Works 
         Chris Welner
         Director Public Affairs & Communications 
         416-597-1400  or  902-499-0032 (in Toronto)
         902-424-8687 (Halifax office) 

trp                   June 18, 1997 - 3:45 p.m.