Feds, province announce $31M for unspecified Island road projects

·2 min read

The provincial and federal governments have announced that 173 kilometres of Island roads will be getting a $31.7-million upgrade.

The province will spend $17.5 million while the federal government will contribute $14.2 million toward six projects, which also include replacing buried structures and bridge spans.

The six projects were not identified in Tuesday morning's virtual announcement or in the subsequent news release.

"These projects are in rural parts of the province. We will be rolling out more specifics with regards to the communities that they will be involved with, as well as the bridges that will be upgraded here in short order," said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure James Aylward in his first announcement since being shuffled to the portfolio last week.

Aylward thanked outgoing Minister Steven Myers for his work within the department and said one of his priorities as the new minister is to assist in helping P.E.I.'s tourism economy grow coming out of the pandemic. Part of that would involve improving infrastructure and safety to make P.E.I. a cycling destination, he said.

"I know we had a record amount of roads recapped last year," Aylward said.

"I want to ensure that we continue that process and that we look at the safety of roads."

MPs say roads feed exports, tourism, job growth

Aylward was joined on the video call by P.E.I.'s four members of Parliament, including Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay.

MacAulay agreed that infrastructure investments will help Islanders come out of the pandemic in a better position.

"Infrastructure and highways are probably part of the first development for any country, and without a doubt, what you have to do is have a proper infrastructure and highway system if you're going to export products," he said.

"We're an exporting nation, so we have to be sure we can move our products, and that's part of what this is all about — tourism, moving agriculture and fisheries products, and being able to move around."

Prince Edward Island Government/Facebook
Prince Edward Island Government/Facebook

Justin Trudeau's government has had a focus on using infrastructure spending to boost the post-pandemic economic recovery and grow the number of jobs across the country, previously announcing billions in infrastructure spending.

The federal funding for this project will come from the rural and northern infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada Plan — with a goal of building "modern, resilient, and green" communities across the country.

"One of the points that I always like to emphasize on a highway construction announcement is not to forget the small business people behind road construction, that depend on road construction," said Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey.

"These are your independent truckers all across Prince Edward Island that earn their living depending on the amount of construction work that goes on, and these are small business people."

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