Mr. Speaker, thanks to the federal government's declining commitment to rail service, our roads are under more pressure than ever.
A well maintained system of roads and highways is the basic transportation backbone and economic diversification tool of rural communities and provincial economies. That is why in this year's Saskatchewan budget the NDP government announced a 10 year $2.5 billion program to improve the province's roads and highways. But they cannot do it alone.
Canada is the only one of 28 OECD countries not to have a national highways program. The federal government collects $4 billion in fuel tax from Canadians but spends less than 12% of these tax revenues on road transportation and not one dime of it in western Canada. As a matter of fact, if a car stopped on a dime in western Canada, you can bet that dime did not come from Ottawa.
It is time the Liberal government established a national highways program to help build a strong economic future for all western Canadians. It is time for the government to put some cash on the dash for its national highway system.