The PC Party Opposition has found the missing rural highways budget in the dirt of the Regina bypass and in the pockets of the Sask Party friends and land speculators. PC Leader, Rick Swenson said “the proof was found in the now old 2015 budget where $211 million of the highways capital budget was allocated to the Regina bypass.”
Swenson said “Rural candidates have been reporting many highways so bad they should lose the designation of being a highway. Brad Wall finally got off the Trans-Canada Highway to Swift Current long enough to go looking for an undriveable, potholed highway in Last Mountain-Touchwood. He didn’t have to go very far. The campaign style TV photo op is available for the public to see and shows a practically undriveable highway #322 near Silton, Saskatchewan. Rural people don't drive flimsy vehicles, but they practically need off-road trucks to drive down this excuse of a highway.”
The budget states $211 million of the $581 million capital highways budget is being spent on the Regina bypass. When you take out $74.5 million for municipal infrastructure and $56.3 million for northern airports, that means 47% of the highways capital budget is going to the Regina bypass.
The Wall government's own 2011 engineering study by AECOM consultants and an honest young highways engineer put the cost of overpasses at Balgonie, White City and Pilot Butte at $124 million dollars. We all know the cost of the bypass is now nearly $2 billion dollars and all the land has not yet been purchased from unhappy landowners.
The AECOM study warned “The Southeast bypass is seen as serving a different purpose than the other recommendations on Highway #1 East and the two pieces of infrastructure can be implemented separately based on their own merits. It would be possible to combine these projects into one design-build assignment based on the size, but this funding decision needs to be weighted against the other road network needs in the province.”
“Obviously, the Sask Party government has weighed the options, and decided to take rural highways and rural people for granted” added Swenson.
Swenson said “Brad Wall mismanaged the boom when that boom could have fixed rural highways. Now that we are in a downturn the Regina bypass gets the gravy. Every taxpayer in Saskatchewan will pay for this decision but rural people will pay extra with the broken windshields, broken vehicles, lost opportunities and broken Sask Party promises.
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