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Cornwall Bypass provides solution

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Re: $30 million repayment plan: It appears the provincial government will have to find $30 M to pay back the federal government for an HST overpayment.

The minister of finance has suggested that this will not impact on government services, but he has not yet said how he will find the amount owing or how a loss of $30M would not impact on government services. 

 Given the amount to be repaid, at least one solution readily comes to mind.  That is the cancellation of the unnecessary $30M (or more) provincial expenditure for the Cornwall Bypass. Even if provincial finances were in great shape, and we were not already running an annual deficit and carrying a huge debt, spending $30M on an additional stretch of redundant highway would be of questionable priority.

 Cancellation would reduce the additional borrowing needs of the province, the interest on which impairs the government’s ability to provide essential services. Cancellation would also eliminate the annual repair and maintenance costs of additional and unnecessary kilometres of highway. Without cancellation, these additional costs will likely be met at the expense of our existing highway system. Our highways cannot afford less maintenance.

 Notwithstanding the finance minister’s comments, if the $30M repayment to the federal government requires a choice between reducing government services and adding an unnecessary highway, then the choice should be clear.

 Hopefully, it is not too late to revisit a bad decision, especially in light of changed financial circumstances.

 

Don Carroll,

 Rice Point

The minister of finance has suggested that this will not impact on government services, but he has not yet said how he will find the amount owing or how a loss of $30M would not impact on government services. 

 Given the amount to be repaid, at least one solution readily comes to mind.  That is the cancellation of the unnecessary $30M (or more) provincial expenditure for the Cornwall Bypass. Even if provincial finances were in great shape, and we were not already running an annual deficit and carrying a huge debt, spending $30M on an additional stretch of redundant highway would be of questionable priority.

 Cancellation would reduce the additional borrowing needs of the province, the interest on which impairs the government’s ability to provide essential services. Cancellation would also eliminate the annual repair and maintenance costs of additional and unnecessary kilometres of highway. Without cancellation, these additional costs will likely be met at the expense of our existing highway system. Our highways cannot afford less maintenance.

 Notwithstanding the finance minister’s comments, if the $30M repayment to the federal government requires a choice between reducing government services and adding an unnecessary highway, then the choice should be clear.

 Hopefully, it is not too late to revisit a bad decision, especially in light of changed financial circumstances.

 

Don Carroll,

 Rice Point

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