Liberal MHA Tom Osborne wanted to know Monday why the government is paving about 20 per cent of the road it said it would do.
In the House of Assembly, Osborne questioned the credibility of a March 5 announcement by Minister of Transportation and Works Nick McGrath regarding roadwork on the Bay d’Espoir Highway.
McGrath said performing the work as a multiyear project is a realistic delivery on the promised $30-million expenditure for 33 kilometres of paved highway.
The government’s March 5 news release didn’t make any reference to the fact the work would happen over the course of several years.
“The project tender calls for the rehabilitation of more than 30 kilometres of Route 360, Bay d’Espoir Highway,” the initial release said. “The work will include upgrades between kilometres 80.6 and 86.6, as well as kilometres 170.9 to 198.2. The closing date for the project tender is April 1, 2014.”
But McGrath said spreading that kind of work out over a few years is standard.
“Quite often the highway or the road that we’re talking about has to be rebuilt and that can’t all be done overnight,” he said. “What we’re doing is we’re setting up our programs in our tenders this year — and the contractors have been asking for this for a long time — so that we set up programs and tenders that they can actually go out and schedule the work to get it done.”
Osborne said the announcement was political posturing.
“You are trying to get political points by announcing 33 kilometres in a tender this year, but only allowing 20 per cent of the work to be done this year,” he said. “Is it because it’s an election year?”