26 November 2010
Saint John, New Brunswick
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and David Alward, Premier of New Brunswick, today announced an agreement with the Province of New Brunswick to remove the tolls on the Saint John Harbour Bridge. They were joined at the announcement by Keith Ashfield, Minister of National Revenue, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway; and Rodney Weston, Member of Parliament (Saint John).
The agreement between the two levels of government will contribute to major refurbishing of the structure, forgive the Saint John Harbour Bridge Authority’s outstanding federal loan, and transfer ownership of the bridge to the province.
"This is a major step forward for Saint John and for the local and regional economy," said the Prime Minister. "It will strengthen trade and transport corridors within the province in support of the Atlantic Gateway. It will benefit the transportation industry and other regional businesses. And it will help create jobs over the long term."
"Today’s announcement is evidence of our government’s commitment to build and maintain a modern highway network for our residents," said Premier David Alward. "New Brunswick plays an essential role in the Atlantic Gateway, and by removing the tolls on the Harbour Bridge, we will see a smoother flow of people and goods throughout our region.
The federal government’s contribution to refurbishing and repairing the bridge will improve safety and lengthen the lifespan of the structure. Both the contribution and the loan forgiveness are conditional on the complete ownership of the bridge being transferred to the province and the tolls being removed.
"Removing tolls and helping rehabilitate the Saint John Harbour Bridge is another sign that the economy is our number one priority, and another step forward toward a bright future for the people of Saint John and all New Brunswickers," Prime Minister Harper added.
"Our government will immediately begin the necessary legislative and technical work involved with transferring the bridge to the provincial highway system," said Alward. "We expect the process will be complete no later than March 31, 2011."