|FOR THE WELL BEING OF OUR INFRASTRUCTURE
Municipal Capital Works Program
Mr. Speaker, in recognition of the significant challenges municipalities face in providing infrastructure for water and sewer, waste management facilities and roads, $20 million will be provided again this year under the Municipal Capital Works Program. This cost shared program leverages the investment to about $35 million a year. On average, this funding will allow about 100 municipalities to undertake about 140 projects.
The multi-year component of the Municipal Capital Works Program, introduced last year, is providing $106.4 million to larger communities to allow for comprehensive multi-year infrastructure development. Cost shared on a 50/50 basis, the multi-year component resulted in 26 projects being approved in 10 municipalities.
A number of communities along the south and southwest coast experienced significant damage to infrastructure and personal property as a result of a tidal surge in late January. The Province has been working to access funding under the Federal Disaster Assistance Arrangement. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that $4.3 million has been provided to begin the process of restoring infrastructure in these communities.
To enhance environmental protection services, $495,000 has been allocated in this budget. An issue that has raised concern in some municipalities is the level of trihalomethanes, or THMs, in drinking water. From the new funding, $245,000 has been allotted for increased water sampling, to conduct training sessions for municipal personnel and for consultations with individual communities on THM solutions.
Environmental remediation, including PCB removal from several sites for destruction on the mainland, will be undertaken again this year at a cost of $800,000. In addition, $4.5 million is provided to commence work this summer on the environmental reclamation of the former Hope Brook mine site. New legislation has been passed to ensure that mining companies will have to fulfill their obligation for the environmental clean up of mine sites in the future.
Roads and Transportation
Last year the province had the largest highway construction program since Confederation with an investment of $118 million. Mr. Speaker, this year that record will be surpassed. We are announcing today a highway and road construction program for this year with a record investment of $132.5 million. Since 1996 we have committed $522.2 million to highway and road construction.
Trans Labrador Highway
Phase 2 of the Trans Labrador Highway, the road from Red Bay to Cartwright, will continue this year at a cost of $56 million, bringing the total investment to date to $141.5 million. When completed in 2004, this project will represent by far the largest investment in road construction ever undertaken in Labrador.
The Committee on Future Transportation Needs in Southeastern Labrador will receive funding of $30,000 from the Labrador Transportation Initiative. The committee, looking at southern Labrador's marine, air and road transportation requirements, will hold meetings over the next several weeks to get public input.
An additional $1.5 million has been allocated for the construction of two new highway depots in Labrador, at the halfway points between Goose Bay and Churchill Falls, and between Labrador City and Churchill Falls.
Trans Canada Highway and Provincial Roads
This year $56 million will be spent to improve the Trans Canada Highway and regional trunk roads. Government will also be spending $16 million on upgrading and rebuilding our provincial highways this year, matching the amount spent last year.
Equally important to roads and highways in many parts of the Province is the ferry service. An additional $2.3 million has been allocated for ferry vessel modification and repairs, including $1.3 million for a recently acquired vessel undergoing refit which will begin service in the Fall of 2000.
Ferry wharves are also being upgraded. The reconstruction of the Bell Island wharf will commence this year at a cost of $1 million. In addition, work will be carried out on the wharves in Ramea and South East Bight at a cost of $250,000. From the $3.3 million budgeted for ferry terminals, the new mainland terminal for the Fogo/Change Islands Ferry Service at Farewell will be completed.
for the health of our people, for the health of our economy
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