With the Ministry of Transportation visiting Revelstoke this week for public consultations on proposed Trans-Canada Highway upgrades, we flipped through the new provincial budget to see if a $509-million commitment to local highway twinning announced by the premier in September of 2012 was in the budget.
The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean it’s off the table.
The government is required to list all projects over $50 million in a section of the the transportation capital plan — and no parts of the 10-year project are listed there.
However, that doesn’t mean the project won’t get going, some day. After all, the announcement at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, and a subsequent tour of the region to promote the promise by transportation minister Mary Polak early this month both emphasized the need for federal funding.
Local MLA Norm Macdonald, a member of the opposition, reiterated his view that the tour by the minister and consultation sessions are designed to win votes in the upcoming May election. “There is new signs and an attempt to create the impression of something that it is not real,” Macdonald said.
However, he said the exclusion of the project in the transportation capital budget didn’t mean it’s not going ahead. The key to large highway investments, as always, is federal funding.
“If we can get the federal government to go in, it would trigger an action no matter what government is in,” said Macdonald.
“The minister was very careful with what she said, and she’s right. If we get federal money, we’re going to jump on it and that’s always been the case,” he said.