Belliveau: Where is the Liberal business case to eliminate paving operations?

November 28, 2013

(Halifax, NS) NDP Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal critic Sterling Belliveau is calling on the Liberal government to release information about the impact of its decision to eliminate the provincial asphalt plant and chip seal crew.

Belliveau made the comments as provincial highway workers marched at Province House to protest the Liberal cuts.

Belliveau pointed out that when the NDP entered the paving business it provided background information and statistics to the public. For example a comparison of costs between New Brunswick (which had a provincial chip seal crew) and Nova Scotia from 2009 were posted on-line. Data showed Nova Scotia’s costs in 2009 to be 2.5 times higher than New Brunswick’s. In 2011, the first year the Nova Scotia chip seal crew was introduced, the tender cost per kilometer decreased by $51,000. Subsequently the document was taken offline, sometime after October 25, 2013.

“It’s bad enough that the Liberals won’t provide any information to back-up controversial decisions, but now documents that justified good decisions by the NDP are disappearing,” said Belliveau.

Belliveau also says the business case to hire a provincial chip seal crew was submitted to the then Minister of TIR on May 20, 2010 and the business case to purchase an asphalt plant was submitted on June 9, 2010 – approximately a year after the NDP took office. He is asking Minister MacLellan to provide the dates when he received the business cases to eliminate the chip seal crew and asphalt plant. Belliveau would also like to know when that information will be made available to the public.

“Not only did getting in the paving business save Nova Scotia tax payers money on tenders, it also ensured paving could take place in isolated communities that weren’t attractive to private contractors,” added Belliveau. “If the Liberals want a return to how paving was done a decade ago, they need to provide the data to defend that decision.”

“The NDP’s paving decisions were based on businesses cases that demonstrated significant savings and benefits to the province. If Minister MacLellan wants to cut provincial paving operations he owes the families and communities affected an explanation. Otherwise it appears the Liberals made the decision on a whim.”