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Interim budget officer says feds can pay for infrastructure plans

Parliament's chief librarian-turned-temporary budget watchdog pegs the cost to fund infrastructure at existing levels at $45 billion.



Ottawa—The interim parliamentary budget officer says spending commitments made by the government are more than enough to cover the costs of federal infrastructure for the next decade.

The first report of Parliament’s chief librarian-turned-temporary budget watchdog, Sonia L’Heureux, pegs the cost to fund infrastructure at existing levels through 2023-24 at $45 billion.

The report says new and renewed funding will provide $42 billion, while unspent program funding from previous fiscal years will add another $6 billion for a total of $48 billion.

New Democrat MP Peggy Nash asked the PBO to look into the costs of maintaining the real purchasing power of federal infrastructure spending through 2023-24.

It is the first report under L’Heureux’s helm after former budget watchdog Kevin Page ended his tumultuous five-year-term last month.

Page, the first parliamentary budget officer to be appointed, often butted heads with the government, whether it was over the true cost of the war in Afghanistan or the real price of F-35 fighter jets.

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