Liberals delay $2.14 billion they couldn't spend on infrastructure last year - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Sunny
6.1°C

Liberals delay $2.14 billion they couldn't spend on infrastructure last year

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Newly released documents show the federal government was unable to spend $2.14 billion in cash to rebuild Canada's roads, bridges, and other large scale projects that would help Canadians in their day-to-day lives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
November 13, 2017 - 9:46 AM

OTTAWA - The federal government failed to spend $2.14 billion that was earmarked last year to rebuild roads, bridges and other large-scale projects aimed at helping people in their day-to-day lives, newly released documents show.

The recent department report shows spending from Infrastructure Canada was about 40 per cent lower than the $5.3 billion that had been planned for the last fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2017.

The largest chunk of the spending shortfall was $1.48 billion that didn't get spent on various large-scale projects, representing about 90 per cent of what the government expected to spend on things like new transit and water systems, two key areas of focus on the Liberal agenda.

It's not clear from the documents how long it's expected to take for the money to actually flow to projects.

The figures help to illustrate the magnitude of a problem that has plagued the Liberal government's multibillion-dollar infrastructure program from the outset: they can't seem to get the money out of the federal treasury fast enough.

The government — which typically does carry about 25 per cent of its infrastructure from one project to the next — says it's simply managing the flow of cash to projects. Opposition critics, on the other hand, say the idle money is symptomatic of problems with the program.

Federal dollars only flow once cities and provinces submit receipts for reimbursement, often creating a delay between when work takes place and when the federal money is spent.

In some cases, the federal government won't receive receipts until a project is completely done. In other cases, projects are delayed because of labour strife, bad weather or other factors beyond Ottawa's control — a factor last week's departmental report warns readers about.

The report also shows that the government moved $591.8 million into a fund for small communities, boosting its value to $1.5 billion.

It says the federal government has given provinces and territories an ultimatum: identify projects for all the money left in the program — created by the previous Conservative government — by March 31, 2018, or watch it go to muncipalities through what's known as the federal gas tax fund, established in 2005 to provide a stable, predictable source of annual federal infrastructure dollars.

— Follow @jpress on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kamloops News
  • Comments
  • Police make arrests in Vernon homicide
    VERNON – RCMP have two people in custody in connection with a suspicious Vernon death now deemed a homicide. Vernon RCMP media relations officer Const. Kelly Brett says in a media rele
  • Kamloops man nabbed in warehouse break-in
    KAMLOOPS - Police have arrested a 43-year-old local man after he broke into a City of Kamloops warehouse, states an RCMP media release. Police say the dog unit was called in after a 6 a.m. t
  • How Kamloops got to be the only B.C. city operating a government cannabis store on Oct. 17
    KAMLOOPS - Kamloops is expected to be the only city in the province to have a legal store where you can buy cannabis Wednesday, and it’s all down to being prepared and a chance encounter.
  • TRENDING NOW: Toy mocks dog look-alike
    %%nodefaultimage%% This adorable dog is getting mocked by a robotic toy that looks and sounds like him or her. If you have dogs in the room, they may react to this.
  • Immigrants face hurdles to prove abuse by US agents
    HOUSTON - Within hours of being booked at a Border Patrol station in far West Texas, two teenage sisters from Guatemala came forward to allege that an agent conducted an improper strip search.
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile