ST. STEPHEN (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $1 million in planning for a project that would connect the Trans Canada Trail with the East Coast Greenway in the United States.

Funding in the 2018-19 capital budget will allow for conceptual work on the International East Coast Greenway Trail between St. Stephen and Saint John. Dillon Consulting has been hired by the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission, with financial support from the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture.

“We are investing to advance our multi-year economic growth plan to create job opportunities for New Brunswickers,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “We are investing in the International East Coast Greenway Trail project as it will help advance our multi-year tourism growth strategy.”

The East Coast Greenway is a trail that stretches more than 4,800 kilometres from Key West, Florida, to Calais, Maine. Extending the trail through St. Stephen to Saint John would connect it with the 24,000-kilometre Trans Canada Trail. The connector trail would also link other communities, including St. Stephen, Oak Bay, Saint Andrews, Pennfield and St. George, by means of highway access roads, community trail networks, secondary roads and routes 127 and 175.

“Signature projects like the International East Coast Greenway Trail create a unique and memorable experience for visitors and reflect the cultural and natural landscape of New Brunswick,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames.

The tourism industry is an important job creator, employing more than 42,000 people in New Brunswick and contributing more than $520 million annually to the provincial GDP.

Tourism has been identified as a key opportunity for growth in the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, the government’s framework to move the economy forward.