"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Extra! Extra!

Most interesting to hear the Tuesday-morning quarterbacking on VOCM today on the infrastructure deal.

First, Minister Loyola Hearn says:

There were some technicalities, some bureaucratic concerns that we quickly put out of the way. That was it, signed the agreement, the province wanted it, the Minister certainly wanted it, the extra roads that we wanted to make sure were done
“The extra roads that we wanted to make sure were done…”?

But – wasn’t the TLH the province’s number one project? Or a priority? Guess we know now why they always carefully avoided calling it the number-one priority!

Then, Labrador City Mayor Graham Letto chimes in:

We think that will go a long way. Whether it will complete it or not, as you know, prices are going up every year, and the longer they wait, the more money it’s going to take to complete it. But it’s a good start, and I believe, that once we see it started, we will see it to the end, so I’m confident that once this work is done, a hundred million is done, and if that doesn’t complete it, the extra money will be there. And if not, we certainly will be knocking on those doors again.
“A good start”? It’s as if the past three decades of highways work in Labrador, the vast majority of which paid for with federal dollars, and especially the work done under the 1997 LTIF, simply doesn’t count. Start? The TLH started in the 1970s, notwithstanding the avant-moi-le-déluge rhetoric of the current provincial administration and its admirers.

(For that matter, even Tobin, like Danny, thought he was “commencing” the TLH.)

And, once again, math, Graham, math: The amount under this deal for the Trans-Labrador Highway is not $100-million, unless the province is kicking in more than fifty percent of the funds, which would be an interesting and long-overdue change for Labrador highways funding. The total amount for the TLH AND the Argentia access, and, since to muddy the waters a little more, there are even more roads poneying up to the hose. As Tara Mullowney reports for the Telegram today:
The completion and improvements to the Trans-Labrador Highway and the upgrading of the Argentia access road are two priority projects already identified by the governments. Ottawa will contribute 50 per cent of the total eligible costs of the project, up to a maximum $51.5 million. The rest will come from the province and municipalities. [?! -ed.]

Fabian Manning, MP for the riding of Avalon, said the completion of the Conception Bay South bypass road is also on the list of projects.

The work to be done on the Trans-Labrador Highway includes widening and hard-surfacing. Provincial Transportation and Works Minister Dianne Whalen said 200 kilometres of the highway will be widened this summer, and 40 kilometres will be hard-surfaced.
Again, Graham, “up to $51.5-million” is not the same thing as $51.5-million. If this funding is matched evenly by the province (and which municipality, as per the Telegram, is going to be contributing to which highway project), this means a global budget of $103-million for 200 km of TLH widening, 40 km of TLH “hard-topping” (surely not “cheap seal”!?!?), and the upgrading of the Argentia road, and the Conception Bay South bypass, AND whatever other road projects might be “on the list of projects” alluded to by Mullowney, or among the “extra roads” alluded to by Minister Hearn.

Just so you’re clear, Graham: this is not a $100-million Trans-Labrador Highway deal.

Let alone both the “start” and the “completion” of the TLH at the same time.


Don’t say you didn’t know.


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