Party leaders hit the road to make promises on highway spending

Click to play video: 'Sask Party pledges highway repair increase, other leaders also have road plans' Sask Party pledges highway repair increase, other leaders also have road plans
Sask Party pledges highway repair increase, other leaders also have road plans – Mar 10, 2016

REGINA – Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall was on the road Thursday as he unveiled a highway spending promise in Silton.

If re-elected, the Sask Party will add a “$70 million surge to [highway] repair and maintenance spending” over the next three years.

Wall said they are still figuring out exactly where the fixes would take place.

“Some of the fixes will just be more expensive and more intensive in terms of the dollars. So one kilometre in a particularly bad stretch can cost a lot more than some other repairs that are not that expensive,” Wall explained.

Wall said this will be the most expensive spending increase his party will make during the election campaign.

Thirty million would be spent in this fiscal year, and mark a 20 per cent increase in road repair spending last year.

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For total highway and infrastructure spending, Wall said the Sask Party plans on spending $2.7 billion over the next four years.

Wall claimed they were left with a “pothole” in highway conditions when the Sask Party took office in 2007.

That comment didn’t sit well with NDP leader Cam Broten, who said the Sask Party are paying more than needed by using P3’s. Claiming the cost of highway construction has jumped $200,000 per kilometre since 2007.

“What we’ve seen them do is gut the Highways Ministry. It’s a loss of over 300 positions, 300 jobs. Then they’ve ramped up in a massive way the use of companies, very often from out of province where we’re paying more to get the work done,” Broten argued.

During an appearance in Saskatoon, Broten didn’t announce any NDP highway plans, but the rest of the parties have their ideas.

The Liberals would focus their highway plans on trade, especially improving north/south access for trucks to get to railways linking to the Port of Churchill. Party leader Darrin Lamoureux said he wants to see Saskatchewan be a global economic player.

Progressive Conservative leader Rick Swenson has an economic focus on highways. He said PC MLA’s would push for a transport review to find the most economically efficient routes, which would receive maintenance priority.

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Victor Lau and the Green Party would set up a Crown Co-operative to run highways, and they would also seek a transport review with a green focus.

“How are we moving people and goods? What’s the most efficient way to do that? How do we do that while also lowering  our carbon emissions,” Lau said.

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