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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January 3, 2017


For Immediate Release




Highway Snowclearing Cut Makes a Tragedy Far More Likely; Opposition Demands Reinstatement of Service




Barry Petten, Transportation Critic for the Official Opposition, says, "The Ball Liberals' choice to slash highway snowclearing services is making driving treacherous, jeopardizing lives and making an avoidable tragedy far more likely."


"The governing Liberals - with the support of their entire caucus - have taken snow plows off the province's major highways and are risking the lives of everyone who needs to use these thoroughfares to get to the places they need to be. Some people need to travel early to get to and from work, to make flight connections, to deliver goods or to deal with emergencies,” said Petten.


"In past years, these highways would have ‎been plowed in similar snow conditions, and driving them would have been much safer than it is now. The only difference this year is that the Liberals made the deliberate choice to leave the plows off the road when our highways need to be cleared.


"People are posting photos of highways in abysmal conditions with not a plow in sight. It's shocking to see major highways left in such a state when drivers are using them.


"Drivers are telling us they are very worried that they could get stuck in snow on the highway or go off the highway entirely. It's a tragedy waiting to happen, and it could all be avoided if the Liberals would just listen to the people and reverse their cut to the 24-hour snowclearing services that had been in place," he said.


‎Petten said, "The Liberals demonstrated very poor judgment when they diverted money that could have been used for 24-hour snowclearing to fund another Labrador-island tunnel study, replicating work that had already been done. A recent tunnel study showed it would cost upwards of a billion dollars to finance a tunnel that would not even accommodate vehicles but would only use cable cars - essentially a passenger-only ferry. To re-examine a project that the province cannot afford instead of addressing the very real threats to public safety shows a serious lapse in judgment on the part of the Liberal Cabinet and the entire caucus of government members who voted for this Budget cut.


"When we suggested that 24-hour snowclearing was the greater priority, the Liberals refused to listen - and they are still stubbornly ignoring the many people who are pleading for the restoration of highway snow plowing services before someone is injured or loses their life in a tragedy‎ that proper, timely snowclearing could prevent," said Petten.


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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications


Office of the Official Opposition, (709) 729 6105


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