Liberals face data deficit in deciding on infrastructure spending: documents

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Newly released documents show the Liberal government lacks the data and information it needs to decide how to best use the billions of dollars in its highly touted infrastructure plan.

The Liberals have made it a point to say that they want to make decisions based on the best available evidence as part of their campaign criticism of the previous Conservative government’s policy-making process.

Briefing material provided to the country’s new infrastructure minister suggests the government will have to rely on limited data on the state of roads, bridges, highways, water and sewer systems when deciding where to spend money.

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The documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act say the federal government will not be able to make evidence-based investment decisions without better information.

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Infrastructure Canada officials even raise the possibility of the government funding research on the so-called infrastructure deficit, which is estimated to be between $50 billion and $130 billion.

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The Liberals have promised to increase infrastructure spending by an average of $6 billion a year over the next 10 years, raising the federal investment to $125 billion during that time.

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