Nfld. & Labrador

Labrador tunnel deserves $750K for study, Dwight Ball says

Premier Dwight Ball is defending his government's decision to spend $750,000 on a study about a possible tunnel to Labrador.
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador says the fixed-link possibility between Newfoundland and Labrador could be an economic driver. (CBC)

Premier Dwight Ball says a possible "fixed-link" between Newfoundland and Labrador deserves a study, and the price tag that comes with it.

In the House of Assembly on Monday, Ball defended government's choice to spend $750,000 to study the feasibility of a tunnel that would connect Newfoundland and Labrador. He said that after years of talk, Labradorians want answers.

"Everyone that I talked to in Labrador, they want [this] answered," he said in question period on Monday.

"Is a fixed link available for the next generation of Labradorians?"

Ball deflected questions from Opposition Leader Paul Davis, who asked how the government could justify spending $750,000 during a fiscal crisis that has involved dramatic tax and fee hikes as well as cuts to program spending. 

Davis implied paying for an independent study would contradict the government's earlier pledge to reduce the use of outside consultants.

Exploring the options

The premier said the government needs to have all of the information in hand about economic diversification.

"You need to explore what options you have available," he said. "The fixed link in Newfoundland and Labrador would be a big social and a big economic driver to the future of our province."

Former Liberal MHA Danny Dumaresque, a proponent of a project, said it's possible a tunnel could be built with no cost to taxpayers.

A previous fixed-link review was completed under the Williams government in 2005.