Money for roads may be too little too late

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:

Our local transportation folks do a great job with the money they receive but the problem is that year after year rural Nova Scotia has been getting less and less from Halifax.

I have watched in disgust as the McNeil Liberals have desperately doled out pre-election money (almost $100 million so far), but it was their comments on roads that really got me.

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As you are out driving the terrible roads, keep this statement from a recent McNeil Liberal press release in mind: “Gravel roads are a top concern for many Nova Scotia residents living in rural areas, and that’s why it’s a top concern for your Liberal government.”

A “top” priority? Linger on that statement as I explain why it infuriates me.

In June 2015, I challenged the McNeil Liberals saying, “If the premier wants to show leadership he would find a way to restore the “Rural Impact Mitigation” budget for road maintenance. This important program has been decimated under the NDP and Liberals and our rural roads are suffering as a result.”

In the two years since then the roads have only gotten worse and it wasn’t accidental, it was calculated. Year after year the McNeil Liberals intentionally reduced spending on rural roads. Traditionally, $20 million a year was spent on rural roads. The McNeil Liberals cut that to $15 million, which means that over their four years they cut $20 million from our roads.

But now roads are a “top” priority? Sir, putting just $10 million of the $20 million you cut “back” into roads is too little too late!

The premier had money for boats and ferries but nothing for the roads we travel every day, until the eve of an election.

We are not naïve. We see what is happening. And very soon we will get to have our say.

Tim Houston
MLA Pictou East