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Newfoundland and Labrador Tory Leader wants to use pot revenue to fix potholes

Ches Crosbie and Tory candidate Hilda Whelan address a room of around 50 supporters in Whitbourne on Saturday evening.
Ches Crosbie and Tory candidate Hilda Whelan address a room of around 50 supporters in Whitbourne on Saturday evening. - David Maher

Ches Crosbie says he got the idea recently at a Tim Hortons

Tory Leader Ches Crosbie says it’s high time the province dealt with potholes.

At a campaign stop in Whitbourne on Saturday evening with Placentia-St Mary’s candidate Hilda Whelan, Crosbie brought forward the idea.

“I got talking to people in a Tims and they were complaining about the roads, of course you get a lot of that as you go from St. John’s, all over the island,” said Crosbie.

“We talked about cannabis and somebody said we should use the cannabis tax and put that into road maintenance. From there, I went on to think that’s a good motto: pot for potholes.”

Crosbie says the interaction took place about a week and a half ago.

The proposed 2019 budget/Liberal election platform targets $5.4 million in revenues from the cannabis tax in 2019-20, which currently goes into the general revenue fund for the province. There is currently no earmark for the money.

The total road maintenance budget in the 2019-20 estimates is $86 million. That figure also includes other kinds of road maintenance and clearing. The cannabis tax revenue would either be included in that figure, or added on top, according to the proposal.

Crosbie acknowledges the proposal won’t solve all the pothole problems across the province.

“It would do a lot for the Markland Road,” Crosbie said.

“It’s not going to abolish the problem. It’s much larger than that. The problem is that government is not enforcing proper standards for road building and maintenance. We’re seeing a lot of cutting corners and scrimping on best practices.”

The Markland Road, in the Placentia-St. Mary’s district, was recently named one of the Top 10 worst roads in Atlantic Canada, by the Canadian Automobile Association.

Whelan’s opponents in the district are Liberal Sherry Gambin-Walsh and Independent Steve Thorne.

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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