Minister accused endangering lives

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FREDERICTON, N.B. — The New Brunswick government is being accused of delaying tenders for road work to paint a rosier picture later in the year, which is a sign of possible fall election.

Kent MLA Shawn Graham says the Department of Transportation has delayed issuing contract tenders so that work on the roads will start later and end later this fall.

“I think this government is looking at calling a fall election and having as many people working as possible in the fall by delaying the calling of these contracts in the spring,” Graham tells the house. “It will delay road work and cost lives in this province.”

He says the government has issued only 24 contracts totaling $8.1 million so far this spring.

“That is less than 10 per cent of the actual expenditures for the capital estimates. Can the minister of transportation explain why the delay has occurred in allowing road jobs to be called?” he questions local media. “It is very important that New Brunswickers return to work immediately in the spring.”

Transportation Minister Percy Mockler says Graham has his facts wrong.

Mockler assures the government has issued 28 of its 66 contracts, which represents 42 per cent of the work.

In response to concerns from road builders, Mockler says government has decided to stagger the release of its contracts so companies will have enough time to submit bids for multiple tenders.

“It is not a political agenda,” says Mockler. “We are on track with respect to getting out our contracts. The tenders are coming out.”

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