Re: Program cut driving up road costs, news, March 14
Too often, the provincial government treats small and rural municipalities differently from their big-city counterparts.
To many of the municipalities I represent, it appears that the Liberal government’s deliberate decision to “discontinue” the Connecting Link program is just one more example.
I want to congratulate Jeff Heuchert for his article on this issue. Municipalities, including the City of Stratford and the Municipality of West Perth, among others, have long relied on the Connecting Link program to maintain their connecting links – the roads through our cities and towns that are part of provincial highways.
For years, the province has picked up part of the tab for maintaining these roads because they carry provincial traffic.
But no longer. Now, not only do the Liberals expect municipal taxpayers in Perth-Wellington to pay for provincial highways, but they also expect to continue calling the shots when it comes to how those roads are built and maintained.
I first wrote to the government on this issue in June of last year on behalf of the City of Stratford.
I wrote another letter in August to former Premier Dalton McGuinty; I acknowledged the extremely poor state of the province’s finances, but asked how longstanding priorities, such as connecting links, could be neglected while the government had hundreds of millions of dollars to squander on cancelled power plants in Oakville and Mississauga.
On February 13, I wrote again to the new transportation minister to convey our local municipalities’ concerns. I asked why the government would abandon the Connecting Link program while providing no meaningful alternative. We are still waiting for a response.