New Brunswick

Saint John Harbour Bridge deal close

The New Brunswick government is closing in on a deal with Ottawa that would remove the tolls on the Saint John Harbour Bridge, Premier David Alward said on Tuesday.

The New Brunswick government is closing in on a deal with Ottawa that would remove the tolls on the Saint John Harbour Bridge, Premier David Alward said on Tuesday.

The federal and provincial government have been haggling over a deal that would erase the 40-year-old bridge's debt and ongoing maintenance costs.

Saint John Tory MP Rodney Weston promised in the last federal election that he'd work to remove the tolls from the bridge.

The Progressive Conservative government used the throne speech on Tuesday to signal an end to the bridge dispute.

Alward told a news conference on Tuesday that negotiations with the federal government were ongoing and a deal would be concluded in "the very near future."

"We need to see debt erased, that really burdens the bridge authority and the people of Saint John," Alward said.

"We need to see the repairs done and we believe it has to be the province and the federal government getting the repairs done. And finally we need to see the tolls removed."

Shawn Graham's former Liberal government was attempting to settle the dispute before the Sept. 27 election. Graham was unable to finish a deal before the campaign started.

The bridge authority is carrying a $22-million debt.

Car drivers pay a 50-cent toll each time they cross the harbour bridge.

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