Is it on the map? Liberals face hurdles with infrastructure transparency tool

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OTTAWA — An online map laying out billions in infrastructure spending approved by the federal Liberal government has yet to provide the full scope of funding commitments for projects like bridges, roads and transit systems.

A briefing note to the top official at Infrastructure Canada late last year outlined the challenges of creating a mapping tool for all federally funded projects that would have addressed concerns raised in the media about transparency and reporting.

Federal infrastructure spending data goes back 16 years, but officials identified multiple potholes that have prevented them from meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s request for an online map to chart all of Ottawa’s infrastructure spending.

The document was obtained by The Canadian Press under the access to information law and says cities didn’t track their usage of federal funding through some programs, and that departments overseeing the Liberals’ plan didn’t all have the same reporting requirements as Infrastructure Canada.

A spokeswoman for Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says the government is working with other departments overseeing the funding to add their spending data to the transparency tool.

The federal government infrastructure plan totals about $186.7 billion over the next decade, about half of which is funding the Liberals have budgeted since coming to office in late 2015.

The Canadian Press