Liberals’ infrastructure program problems detailed in internal documents

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OTTAWA — Newly released documents show a focus on small projects bogged down the first phase of the Liberal governments new infrastructure program.

An internal analysis obtained by The Canadian Press under the access-to-information law, shows 32 departments handed out $14.4 billion in the first phase of the program.

Almost one-third of the projects needed less than $100,000 in federal support but required the same detailed reviews as much bigger projects which delayed construction and the flow of federal cash.

The government has been criticized for the slower-than-anticipated pace of infrastructure dollars leaving the federal treasury.

The Liberals argue tracking federal spending can be misleading because funds only flow once receipts are filed, which causes a lag between when work occurs and money is paid out.

A spokeswoman says Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is able to approve projects worth up to $50 million, putting the vast majority of projects under the minister’s authority and reducing timelines for approvals.

The Canadian Press

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