Gov't identifies money for St Thomas highway, but no space in budget
The Government said it has identified the US$250 million, or approximately J$28.9 billion, needed to undertake the construction of Segment 1B of the Southern Coastal Highway, but said there is no fiscal space for the project.
Dr Omar Davies, the transport, works and housing minister, said at a press conference at his St Andrew offices that loan funds are to be used to construct the road but said he could not commit to a timeline.
"The whole stretch from Harbour View to Port Antonio is close to US$1 billion. One of the reasons is that if you go through the towns along the coast, the road cannot go through them. You have to go on the hillsides," Davies said.
technical work completed
The Southern Coastal Improvement Project is divided into two segments: Segment 1 - Harbour View to Port Antonio (106.4km); and Segment 2 - Negril to Mandeville (131.4km).
"We have identified the source of financing, but what we need to do is identify when this can be brought into the budget," the minister said in response to questions from the media.
Davies said that priority is to be given to the Harbour View, Kingston to Port Antonio, Portland section of the highway with the first segment to start at Harbor View ending in Morant Bay in St Thomas.
"The technical work has been completed," Davies said. "But our ability to initiate the programme will be dependent on the ability of the Ministry of Finance to allow us fiscal space. Minister [Peter] Phillips and I are in deep discussions to determine how quickly this can be made available so that we can advance the project."