The dubious distinction comes as a result of the Canadian Automobile Association’s (CAA) second annual survey of worst roads in Atlantic Canada in which motorists are encouraged to vote for the worst roads in their respective areas.
Gary Howard, based in Saint John, New Brunswick, is a spokesperson for the Atlantic Canadian Division of the CAA.
Howard said that while some people think the campaign is a lighthearted approach to looking at the worst roads in Atlantic Canada, the annual survey is important for a number of key reasons.
Howard said, “Our Worst Roads Campaign is really a public awareness program in which we’re essentially trying to get Atlantic Canadian’s to talk about the worst roads in the area. Motorists have the ability to come to our web site, identify those roads by using Google earth tools and then vote for their choice or choices.
The campaign brings attention to the fact that we have a large highway/road system in Atlantic Canada, and that our roads need a lot of attention that they’re just not receiving right now.
“This is an important activity in that good roads are important to our economy, our tourism industry and for the safety of the travelling public and business travellers. The survey gives people a voice in bringing the conditions of some of our roads to government and which ones need repairs immediately.
“Motorists feel that they have a chance to be heard in this campaign, and that they can share their concerns with the public, the media and, again, with governments for serious attention.”
According to Mr. Howard, the 20121 CAA Atlantic Road Worst Roads Campaign had already shown some positive results.
He said, “Our 2011 campaign really got people talking about some of our roads and 14 of the roads identified have been fixed or are under repair. One of those rods was a section of Route 510 near Port Hope Simpson in Labrador. Some work was done on this road last summer and the project will be finalized in 2012.”
Howard said that several key changes could happen to help fix some road repairs in Atlantic Canada.
He noted that while provincial governments in Atlantic Canada are pretty good about spending money collected in gas taxes, registration and licence fees back on roads, the federal government needs to become more actively involved in the process.
“The federal government collects over $4 billion a year in gas taxes and spends less than 10 percent of that back on roads. Federal officials use the excuse that most roads are a provincial jurisdiction and are not their responsibility.
Ina addition, some government pass out money for roads based on the number of electoral districts they may have. Governments need to spend money on roads based on the greatest need first and go from this point. It’s one thing to patch up a road and another thing to fix it properly. It may take a little more money with this approach but the road repairs last much longer.
In an article carried in the April 3 edition of the Coaster, MHA Tracey Perry said that the provincial government is well aware of the condition of Route 360 overall and of certain sections of the highway.
In the article cited, Perry said, “Our budget priorities have been set and I can say with great confidence that Route 360 will be a key priority for the government in 2012 and in the coming years as well.”