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In future, provinces will require the consent of the federal government before they can impose tolls on highways that have been jointly funded.

This represents a partial victory for CUPE and others who have protested tolls on the Trans-Canada highway in New Brunswick. But it’s not retroactive, leaving in place the scheme to privatize and toll the Moncton to Fredericton portion of the highway.

CUPE had written last summer to minister of transport David Collenette protesting tolls on highways that all Canadians have paid for through their taxes.

The federal government claims that it lacks the power to restrict tolls on highways already under construction, even though it paid 50 per cent of the costs of construction.

But they’ve signed an agreement with the provinces assuring that in future federal funds can’t be used on a toll highway without federal approval.

Meanwhile, pressure continues to mount on the provincial government to reverse its decision to turn over the new toll highway to the Maritime Road Development Corporation, which stands to make $1.9 billion profit over the next thirty years.