Paving on the list of first cuts for Liberal government

October 25, 2013

NDP Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal critic Sterling Belliveau is concerned the Liberals’ decision to shut down Nova Scotia’s public paving plant will hurt remote and rural communities.

“Just an hour into his new role as Transportation Minister, without talking to the communities that benefited from the public paving plant or studying the issue with senior staff in his department, Minister MacLellan announced his first cut to paving in this province,” said Belliveau.

Senior staff from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal appeared before the Public Accounts Committee earlier this year to answer questions about the publicly-owned mobile paving plant.

Staff told Public Accounts that the average price of asphalt dropped since the introduction of the public plant. Investing in the asphalt plant allowed more efficient use of equipment such as trucks and loaders driving down bids and paving more while paying less.

“Roads in remote and rural communities in Victoria and Guysborough Counties needed attention but private road builders would not bid on these smaller projects because they wouldn’t make money. The mobile public paving plant could work in a community that traditionally received higher tender prices and get small jobs done that big paving companies weren’t interested in.”

Belliveau says MacLellan’s plan to scrap the in-house chip-sealing division will hurt families in rural Nova Scotia.

“The in-house chip-seal operation gave attention to roads that had not seen work in decades. Families in rural Nova Scotia are going to end up paying the cost of Mr. MacLellan’s hasty decisions. How will Mr. MacLellan ensure these families and their roads are not forgotten?”