News / Halifax

Halifax councillor welcomes highway twinning funding but questions price tag

Coun. Matt Whitman believes there could have been cheaper alternatives to twinning dangerous section of Highway 103.

Councillor Matt Whitman

Metro File

Councillor Matt Whitman

The municipal councillor representing communities along a dangerous stretch of Highway 103 welcomes federal funds for highway twinning but wonders if the money could be more wisely spent.

On Tuesday, the federal government announced contributions of $32.5 million for highway twinning between Ingramport and Upper Tantallon, and $33.1 million for the portion between Ingramport and Hubbards.

The province had already committed about $37.5 million and $36.8 million respectively.

“I think that this is money that needs to be spent, I just want to make sure that it’s spent wisely,” said Coun. Matt Whitman.

“I don’t want it to come in over budget and I don’t want it to come in slower than it should be, and if I’d been included in the decision at all, I would have suggested that.”

Whitman said while he has “no sour grapes” and believes it was an oversight, he wished he could’ve been present for Tuesday’s announcement rather than learn about it through the media.

“During the provincial election there were talks about ways to do it that would be less expensive, like more passing lanes, divided highways, barriers and whatnot,” he said.

“Overall there are things that can be done to make this project more efficient for the taxpayer. Folks are happy to get it done because it is going to be safer, but it is going to be more expensive.”

Whitman also said twinning and dividing highways wouldn’t be so urgent if people would drive posted limits and stop taking unnecessary risks that lead to head-on collisions.

“It doesn’t save you much time from Hubbards to Tantallon ... If you’re talking about (passing and speeding) saving you three, four, five minutes? People are dying over three, four, five minutes,” he said.

“I’m glad to see the fix coming. Lives are worth the investment."

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