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New figures released by the Nova Scotia government show major savings from bringing road maintenance work back in-house.

The provincial highway workers, members of CUPE 1867, campaigned for the three-year pilot project to chip seal roads, knowing they could do the work well, and save tax dollars.

The savings are rolling in already. The per-kilometer cost of chip sealing when done publicly by CUPE members was $46,000 for 2011. That’s half the private contractor per-kilometer cost of $91,000 in 2009.

Chip sealing is a process that uses rock chips and liquid asphalt to repave roads. CUPE members will do five percent of the province’s chip sealing work.

Under fully privatized maintenance, private contractors were inflating their bids to maintain rural areas, focusing on the profitable main arteries. With the introduction of lower-cost public maintenance, private bids are coming down in price - showing the profiteering that was taking place.

CUPE has drawn fire from the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation for its work – criticism, which makes no sense, given that the contracting in will save tax dollars.

The government says contracting in has saved $2.3 million so far - money that will be reinvested in maintaining safe roads.

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